Bomb attack kills 5 civilians in Turkish-held town in northern Syria

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A bomb attack in northern Syria has claimed the lives of five civilians, according to a statement by Turkey’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday.

The deadly attack took place in the town of Tel Halaf, which has been under Turkish control since Turkey’s cross-border incursion into the region last October.

The defense ministry statement claimed that the attack was the work of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), an armed Kurdish group that Turkey views as a terrorist organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK has been waging an insurgency in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast since the 1980s.

Last year’s “Operation Peace Spring” was led by a combined ground force of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels in an effort to root out the YPG from areas close to the Turkish border and to establish a “safe zone” stretching along the border.

The operation was halted after diplomatic initiatives by the US, although Turkey continues to control the areas it had already occupied.

The ministry statement also said the YPG carried out a total of 62 such attacks within the last month and that 10 YPG militants were “neutralized” in clashes, presumably meaning that they were killed.

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