In Feature Articles, Turkey / Türkiye, 16 Feb, 2016

Both government and opposition-held towns in Syria over the border from Turkey have fallen under Ankara’s shelling that began last week, according the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Turkish military attacks against Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey, Feb 2016 (Sertac Kayar, Reuters)

Turkish military attacks against Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey, Feb 2016 (Sertac Kayar, Reuters)

Turkey’s artillery has fired more than 100 shells at bordering areas in the northwest province of Aleppo, targeting both Syrian government forces and the opposition, MoD spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Tuesday.

“Since the end of the last week Turkey has been launching massive artillery strikes on the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition at the border areas. Impartial monitoring bodies have detected more than a hundred rounds of fire that targeted border towns in the province of Aleppo,” Konashenkov said.

Last week Turkey started pounding Syrian Kurdish forces with fire in northern Syria in an apparent attempt to stop them from taking over the city of Azaz, Aleppo.

On Monday, at least 14 people were killed after missiles hit a children’s hospital, a school and other buildings, witnesses told Reuters. Ankara was quick to blame Russia for the strikes in Azaz.

Monday’s attacks have been condemned by the international community, with the UN calling on war parties to reduce hostility ahead of the planned ceasefire in Syria.

On a separate occasion, members of the United Nations Security Council expressed their concern with the aggressive actions carried out by Ankara in Syria and will urge it to follow international law.

“The UN Security Council members are concerned with the Turkish attacks on a number of Syrian regions,” UNSC President Rafael Ramirez said, according to TASS news agency, after a meeting held upon Russia’s request, adding that the members “have agreed to ask Turkey to obey international law.”

Russia’s ministry of defense statement came as a response to Turkish officials who accused Moscow of conducting a deadly attack on Syrian civilians. On Monday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed a Russian warship in the Caspian Sea launched a ballistic missile that hit a hospital in the Idlib province. Following the hospital, reports of five medical facilitates and several schools being attacked in the city of Azaz also emerged.

Russia shrugged off the fresh claims on Tuesday saying there are no warships in the Caspian fleet “capable of launching ballistic missiles” [story link below].

The allegations, described as “empty” and “unfounded” were dismissed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as well.

Russia has no ship in Caspian Sea that could hit Syrian hospital with ballistic missile – MoD, Feb 16, 2016


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