Syrian Islamist fighters of the Ahrar al-Sham group on Wednesday launched an offensive on the Kurdish town of Iska in Afrin district, northwest of Aleppo province, causing casualties among civilians.
“Supported by Turkey’s military, Ahrar al-Sham militants attacked Iska town in the Shirawa sub-district in Afrin with mortar shells,” local media activist Hember Kusa told ARA News.
Turkish artillery supported the offensive by firing dozens of shells on the town, which is held by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“The heavy bombardment by the Turkish army and Ahrar al-Sham led to the destruction of several residential buildings,” Kusa reported.
At least seven civilians lost their lives and more than a dozen were injured in the attack.
This while local rescue teams continued their search for victims under the rubble.
In response to the attack, Kurdish YPG fighters hit strongholds of Ahrar al-Sham group in Darat Izza district near Afrin.
“Our forces destroyed three of Ahrar al-Sham’s vehicles and several machine guns in the operation in retaliation for the victims of Iska town,” a YPG officer told ARA News.
The office added that the clashes between their fighters and Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham continued until the midnight on Wednesday.
The Darat Izza district has recently turned into a main base for the Turkish army and allied Syrian rebels in Aleppo province, from which they have launched repeated attacks on the YPG-held Afrin district.