The Latest: Syrian Kurd commander say Turkey still attacking

commander-syrian-kurdish-militia

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

A senior commander of the main Syrian Kurdish militia says Turkish jets and artillery are still attacking his forces north of the embattled city of Aleppo, but says no more than 10 fighters have been killed so far.

Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Thursday as many as 200 militia members were killed in air raids on targets in Aleppo province where the Kurdish-led forces have been advancing for days against Islamic State militants.

Commander Mahmoud Barkhadan of the People’s Protection Unit says Turkish tanks have been shelling the Kurdish-led forces in the area since early Wednesday. Barkhadan says jets joined the attack Wednesday night and continued to pound his forces in the area. He says early reports suggest no more than 10 fighters have been killed and 20 wounded. There was no word on civilian casualties yet.

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9:40 a.m.

The Syrian military is calling on residents of besieged rebel-held districts in the city of Aleppo to evacuate and for gunmen to lay down their weapons as the humanitarian pause announced by Russia takes effect.

Moscow says the three-day pause is to allow civilians and militants safe passage out of the eastern districts of the city — under a tight siege since July and a punishing bombing campaign since mid-September. Al-Mayadeen TV, a Beirut-based pro-Syrian channel, broadcast Thursday an hour after the pause began from near one of the designated passages.

Loudspeakers blared with military calls for residents to let the sick and wounded out first, and urging fighters to lay down their guns. The message: “The battle for returning Aleppo to the nation’s fold is in its last phases. There is no point in continuing the fight.”

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9 a.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkish jets have struck 18 Syrian Kurdish militia targets north of the Syrian city of the embattled city of Aleppo, killing as many as 200.

Anadolu Agency says Thursday the raids targeted the Maarraat Umm Hawsh region in northern Syria. The agency said between 160 and 200 militia fighters were killed in the raid.

It says the air strikes took place late Wednesday night.

The United States considers the militia group, known as the People’s Protection Units or YPG, to be the most effect force in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. Turkey says the group is an extension of its own outlawed Kurdish militants who have carried out a series of deadly attacks in Turkey over the past year.

 

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