The Turkish Defense Ministry said on Monday that two special operations police officers were killed in an attack in northern Aleppo, Syria.
The Turkish Defense Ministry on Monday said that Cihat Şahin (34) and Fatih Doğan (27) were killed in the Euphrates Shield zone in the Marea-Azaz line.
Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, in a tweet on Sunday, blamed the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) for carrying out a guided missile attack from the neighboring Tal Rifaat area.
The YPG did not claim responsbility for the attack.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) war monitor also claimed that the Afrin Liberation Forces targeted the Turkish Army vehicles with a guided missile.
The attack took place on Sandaf road near the city of Marea in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
In response, the Turkish Army and Turkish-backed factions fired 50 artillery shells and rockets at Mar’enaz and Alqamiya villages in the Sharran district of the Afrin countryside, which is under YPG control, a SOHR report said.
Tal Rifaat is host to a Kurdish-majority population of civilians that were displaced from neighboring Afrin, a region Turkey and its proxy Syrian militants invaded in 2018. The Syrian government and the YPG also have a presence in the area.
Ankara has carried out three cross-border military operations in Syria to date. They were Operation Euphrates Shield (August 2016-March 2017), Operation Olive Branch (January 2018-March 2018), and Operation Peace Spring (October 2019). The primary aim of these operations were to prevent territorial expansion by the YPG and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Since then these Turkish-occupied areas have been plagued by regular attacks targeting Turkish-backed forces as well as indiscriminate bombings that have also caused civilian casualties. There is also frequent infighting in these areas between rival Turkish-backed factions that also result in civilian deaths.
Despite ceasefire agreements between Turkey and Russia and Turkey and the US that were both implemented in October 2019, Turkish-backed groups and the Turkish Army continue to target SDF-held areas periodically. Civilians have been killed and injured in these attacks.
Turkish-backed groups and the Turkish Army have intensified their artillery, air, and drone strikes in the last few months in particular against areas under the control of the Kurdish-run SDF.
On Sunday, Turkish-backed groups and the Turkish Army shelled several areas in northern Aleppo (Shahba region) and Tal Tamr in the Hasakah province. On Monday, villages in the countryside of Manbij were also shelled, the Manbij Military Council said.
Turkish journalists on Monday also claimed that five YPG mortars hit the border Turkish town of Karkamış near Jarabulus. So far, the YPG has not responded to the claims.
The US Embassy in Syria on Sept. 1. expressed deep concerns "with the intensification in airstrikes and shelling in northern Syria in recent months, leading to dozens of civilian casualties and displacements."
"We call on all sides to respect the ceasefire, protect civilian populations, and work toward a political resolution to the conflict as outlined by UN resolution 2254," it said.