ANKARA, Turkey –
Suspected Kurdish fighters in Syria fired rockets across the border into Turkiye on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring 10 others, officials said. The attack follows deadly Turkiye air strikes against suspected rebel targets in Syria and Iraq.
The missiles hit a high school and two houses in the town of Karkamis, Gaziantep province, as well as a truck near the Turkish-Syrian border crossing, state news agency Anadolu reported.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the dead included a teacher and a child. One of the rockets landed on the campus of a high school but there were no deaths there.
Soylu said one soldier and seven police officers were wounded overnight in separate shelling by suspected Kurdish fighters targeting the border area in nearby Kilis.
Minister Turkiye will respond to the attacks “in the strongest possible way”.
According to Rami Abdurrahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces opened fire on Karkamis from their positions near the border town of Kobani. Syria. He added that the Turkish military retaliated by firing on SDF positions on the Syrian side of the border, but there were no reports of casualties yet.
While the Kurdish-led forces in Syria have neither commented nor claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Syrian Democratic Forces in a statement on Monday vowed to respond to Turkish air strikes. Turkey “effectively and efficiently at the right time and place.”
The missile attacks come days after Turkiye launched deadly air strikes in northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish groups Ankara says are responsible for the bombings. November 13 in Istanbul. The bomb rocked a busy boulevard in central Istanbul on November 13, killing six people and injuring more than 80 others.
Turkish authorities blamed the attack on the PKK and its Syrian affiliate the YPG. However, Kurdish militant groups have denied involvement.
Turkish warplanes attacked the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) bases on Saturday and Sunday. Turkish officials claimed that a total of 89 targets were destroyed and a “large number” of what they called “terrorists” were killed in the air strikes.
The Observatory said 35 people were killed in air strikes over the weekend, including 18 Kurdish fighters, 16 Syrian government soldiers and a journalist for a local media outlet.
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled that Turkiye was also contemplating a ground attack against militant groups, saying the operation would not be “limited to an air campaign. ” He added that the Ministry of Defense and the Turkiye army will hold discussions on the number of infantry needed.
“We will hold consultations and then we will take the appropriate steps,” Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying.
Turkiye has launched three major offensives into northern Syria since 2016 and has taken control of some territory in the north.
Ankara and Washington both consider the PKK a terrorist group, but disagree on the status of the YPG. Under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the YPG has allied with the US in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.
The PKK has been fighting an armed insurgency in Turkiye since 1984. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since.
Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue and Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut contributed.