The general command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Saturday that a Turkish drone attack which targeted a car in the city of Qamishli in northeast Syria on Friday claimed the lives of three SDF fighters, according to the North Press Agency.
The strike killed Salwa Youssef (also called Salwa Yusuk), a commander in the Counter-Terrorism Units (YAT); Jwana Hisso, a leader in the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ); and YAT fighter Ruha Bashar, the SDF media center said Saturday.
The SDF is a subsidiary of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is considered by Turkey an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced plans to carry out another major military cross-border operation into northern Syria. Erdoğan said in a statement earlier this month that the Turkish military operation into Syria could begin at any moment.
“The time has come to clear these lands of terrorist organizations,” Erdoğan said at a summit in Tehran last week where he met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin to talk about recent developments in Syria.
Meanwhile, US Central Command (CENTCOM), one of 11 unified combatant commands of the US Department of Defense, issued a message of condolence on Sunday over the killing of the three SDF fighters.
“Salwa was a critical SDF leader who led forces in combat vs ISIS since the height of the fight to defeat the vile ideology in NE Syria in 2017. CENTCOM extends our condolences to the Families of these 3 SDF fighters, the people in Northeast Syria & our SDF partners,” read its statement posted on Twitter.
Last Wednesday, an attack blamed on Turkey claimed the lives of nine civilians in the district of Zakho in Iraq’s northern, semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Ankara has denied it was behind the attack, claiming that there were terrorist organizations behind it, in a veiled reference to the PKK.