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Kurdish militia leader says Turkish drone attack killed 3 civilians in N. Syria: report

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The leader of a US-backed militia in northeast Syria accused Turkey of violating the terms of two separate cease-fire agreements brokered by Russia and the United States today after an alleged Turkish drone struck his village of Helenj, near the town of Kobani, killing three women last night, Al-Monitor reported.

Mazlum Kobane, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), called the drone attack that took place around 7 p.m. local time “a continuation of the policy of massacres against the Kurds.” He added via Twitter, “Stopping Turkish violations and the policy of ethnic cleansing is a responsibility and duty of America and Russia, within the framework of the October agreements and international law.”

Kobane was referring to the accords brokered in the aftermath of Turkey’s Oct. 9 “Operation Peace Spring” assault against northeast Syria that resulted in its occupation of a swath of territory between the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain and the withdrawal of US forces from the Syrian-Turkish border, including from Kobani.

In a rare if oblique rebuke of America’s NATO ally, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed his sympathies to families of the “innocent civilians and those wounded” in the airstrike via Twitter just hours after the attack occurred.

But in an apparent bid to keep things even, Pompeo also mentioned the families of five civilians who died in a bomb attack that took place yesterday near Ras al-Ain that Turkey blamed on the SDF. Pompeo did not identify any perpetrators in his tweet, but it will have likely angered Ankara nonetheless.

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