Shelling kills four people in Syria’s Afrin

BEIRUT (Reuters) – At least four people were killed and more than a dozen injured in shelling on the Syrian city of Afrin and a separate rocket attack on its outskirts on Thursday, medics at a local hospital and civil defense rescue workers said.

They were the latest in years of attacks on the northwestern enclave controlled by Turkey and the Syrian rebels it backs. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assaults.

Turkey has blamed previous attacks there on the Syrian Kurdish YPG group, which held the Afrin area until Turkish forces seized the region in a cross-border military operation in 2018.

The shelling on Afrin city killed three people and wounded a dozen more people, the medics and rescue workers said.

The separate rocket attack on a car killed a woman and wounded three more people in the town of Maryamayn on the ouskirts of Afrin, they added.

Turkish forces responded by shelling Kurdish-held areas, media controlled by Turkey-aligned rebels reported.

Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist group tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) inside its own borders, and has staged incursions into Syria in support of Syrian rebels to push it back from the Turkish frontier.

The YPG views Turkey as an occupying force.

(Reporting by Khalil Ashawi; Writing by Timour Azhari; Editing by Tom Perry and Andrew Heavens)