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Turkey points at Kurd militants in rocket attack

by SUZAN FRASER The Associated Press | November 22, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Syrian Kurds attend a funeral of people killed in Turkish airstrikes in the village of Al Malikiyah , northern Syria, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. The airstrikes, which Turkey said were aimed at Kurdish militants whom Ankara blamed for a deadly Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul, also struck several Syrian army positions in three different provinces along the border with Turkey. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

ANKARA, Turkey -- Suspected Kurdish militants in Syria fired rockets across the border into Turkey on Monday, killing at least two people and wounding 10 others, Turkish officials said. The attack followed deadly airstrikes by Turkey on suspected militant targets in Syria and Iraq.

One of the rockets landed near a school in the town of Karkamis in Gaziantep, and the explosion smashed the window of a teachers' room, killing a 22-year-old teacher, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. A 5-year-old boy was killed when a house in Karkamis was also hit in the attack.

A pregnant woman who was reported to be dead was in fact in serious condition in the hospital, the minister said, correcting an earlier death toll to two.

Schools in the area were closed down, the minister said.

A soldier and seven Turkish police officers were wounded overnight in separate shelling by suspected Kurdish militants in nearby Kilis, Soylu said.

Turkey will respond to the attacks "in the strongest way possible," he added.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces opened fire toward Karkamis from its positions near the Syrian border town of Kobani, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor.

The Observatory reported that Turkish warplanes resumed airstrikes on Monday, hitting several areas including near the border town of Kobani. It said Turkish artillery also retaliated to the rocket attacks by firing at areas in Syria near the town of Tel Rifaat as well as the outskirts of the village of Ein Issa.

Turkish officials did not immediately confirm reports of new airstrikes by Turkish jets. Turkey's defense ministry, however, confirmed retaliatory strikes by Turkish artillery units.

"The traitors who continue with their attacks against innocent civilians ... and go as low as to target schools, were held accountable for their actions," the ministry said on Twitter.

While Kurdish-led forces in Syria have not commented nor claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Syrian Democratic Forces in Monday vowed to respond to Turkish airstrikes "effectively and efficiently at the right time and place."

The rocket attacks came days after Turkey launched deadly airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for a Nov. 13 bomb attack in Istanbul. The bomb rocked a bustling avenue in the heart of Istanbul on Nov. 13, killing six people and wounding over 80 others.

Turkish authorities blamed the attack on the PKK and its Syrian affiliate the YPG. The Kurdish militant groups have, however, denied involvement.

The Turkish warplanes attacked bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and the Syrian People's Protection Units, or YPG on Saturday night and on Sunday. Turkish officials claimed that 89 targets were destroyed and a "large number" of what it designated as "terrorists" were killed in the airstrikes.

The Observatory said 35 people were killed in airstrikes over the weekend including 18 Kurdish fighters, 16 Syrian government soldiers and a local journalist.

On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled that Turkey was also contemplating a ground incursion against the militant groups, saying the operation would not be "limited to an air campaign."

Information for this article was contributed by Bassem Mroue, Kareem Chehayeb and Geir Moulson of The Associated Press.

  photo  People inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit an electricity station in the village of Taql Baql, in Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. The Turkish Defense Ministry said Sunday that Turkey launched deadly airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for last week's deadly bomb attack in a bustling street in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
 
 
  photo  A man inspects a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit an electricity station in the village of Taql Baql, in Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. The Turkish Defense Ministry said Sunday that Turkey launched deadly airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for last week's deadly bomb attack in a bustling street in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
 
 
  photo  People look at a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit an electricity station in the village of Taql Baql, in Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. The Turkish Defense Ministry said Sunday that Turkey launched deadly airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for last week's deadly bomb attack in a bustling street in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
 
 
  photo  A man inspects a damaged car that hit by Turkish airstrikes near an electricity station in the village of Taql Baql, in Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. The Turkish Defense Ministry said Sunday that Turkey launched deadly airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for last week's deadly bomb attack in a bustling street in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
 
 
  photo  In this photo released by Turkey's defense ministry, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, right, and top army commanders work at the Air Force command center, in Ankara, Turkey, early Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. Turkey launched airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Sunday, targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for last week's bomb attack in Istanbul. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP)
 
 
  photo  People inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit an electricity station in the village of Taql Baql, in Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. The Turkish Defense Ministry said Sunday that Turkey launched deadly airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for last week's deadly bomb attack in a bustling street in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
 
 
  photo  Medics wheel a wounded person to an ambulance in the town of Karkamis, in Gaziantep province, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. Suspected Kurdish militants in Syria fired rockets across the border into Turkey on Monday, killing at least three people and wounding 10 others, officials said. (IHA agency via AP)
 
 
  photo  People inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that hit an electricity station in the village of Taql Baql, in Hasakeh province, Syria, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022. The Turkish Defense Ministry said Sunday that Turkey launched deadly airstrikes over northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish groups that Ankara holds responsible for last week's deadly bomb attack in a bustling street in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
 
 
  photo  Syrian Kurds attend a funeral of people killed in Turkish airstrikes in the village of Al Malikiyah , northern Syria, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. The airstrikes, which Turkey said were aimed at Kurdish militants whom Ankara blamed for a deadly Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul, also struck several Syrian army positions in three different provinces along the border with Turkey. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)
 
 

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