The deadly missile target is the hospital in Afrin, Syria | Bashar al-Assad News

The shelling occurred in areas controlled by Turkish-backed militants, killing at least 13 people and injuring 27 others.

Radicals and an aid organization said on Sunday that at least 13 people were killed in two different shelling in the northern Syrian town of Afrin controlled by Turkish-backed militants, including two medical staff, and many were injured.

Civil defense sources told Reuters that the first attack hit a residential area, and the second attack hit a hospital shortly after. Video clips on social media showed that there were casualties in the rubble of al-Shifa Hospital, which ceased services after the attack.

It is not clear who was behind the shelling. According to reports, the shelling came from areas where Syrian government forces and Kurdish-led fighters deployed.

The governor of Turkey’s Hatay Province and the Turkish Ministry of Defense across the sea from Afrin also stated that the attack killed 13 civilians and injured 27 others, adding that it involved rocket and artillery shelling of the hospital. The governor’s office blamed the Syrian Kurdish group for the attack.

After the rebel-controlled city of Afrin in northern Syria was shelled, members of the Syrian Civil Defense Organization (White Helmets) screened among the ruins of al-Shifa hospital [Bakr Al-Kasem/AFP]

Ankara condemned the attack, saying it was launched by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Force (YPG), which is the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Self-Defense Forces stated that this was not behind the attack.

Ankara considers YPG to be a “terrorist” organization, which is related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist organization in Turkey. PKK is designated as a “terrorist organization” by the United States and the European Union.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in the United Kingdom, set the death toll at 18. Al Jazeera was unable to verify the conflicting death toll.

Agence France-Presse quoted Rami Abdurrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory, as saying: “The shelling targeted several areas of the town and hit the hospital.”

The artillery fire originated in northern Aleppo province, “the militias there are loyal to Iran and [Syrian] The regime is deployed near areas controlled by the Kurdish army,” he added.

The American Medical Association of Syria (SAMS), an aid organization that assists the opposition regional health center, confirmed that the hospital was hit by two missiles, destroying the polyclinic, emergency room and delivery room.

SAMS said two of the 13 victims were hospital staff and two were ambulance drivers. Eleven staff members were injured.

SAMS stated that the hospital is one of the largest facilities in northern Syria, providing thousands of medical services every month, and its coordinates are shared as part of the UN-led conflict resolution mechanism.

Through Turkish military operations, Afrin basically eliminated YPG fighters in 2018. Ankara now retains a large military presence in the area, deploying thousands of soldiers.

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