At least two killed in suspected Kurdish strikes at Turkey-Syria border

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
The wreckage of a burnt truck in Turkey after being hit by one of the rockets.
The wreckage of a burnt truck in Turkey after being hit by one of the rockets.   -   Copyright  KADIR GUNES / DHA (DEMIROREN NEWS AGENCY) / AFP

Turkish officials say at least two people have been killed after suspected Kurdish missile strikes hit the border town of Karkamis.

Rockets reportedly struck a school and two houses in Gaziantep province, wounding at least 10 others.

Provincial governor Davut Gül claimed that "five mortars/rockets were fired" by alleged Kurdish militants in neighbouring Syria.

A truck near a Turkish-Syria border gate was also damaged by rocket fire, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said a soldier and seven police officers were also wounded overnight in a separate shelling incident near Kilis.

Soylu said Turkey would respond to the attacks “in the strongest way possible”.

The death toll was revised to two after a pregnant woman -- initially reported dead -- was in fact in serious condition in hospital.

The attacks come just days after Turkey launched deadly airstrikes in northern Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish militant groups that Ankara has blamed for a deadly bomb attack in Istanbul on 13 November.

At least 31 people were killed in the Turkish strikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Turkish authorities say the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate People's Defense Units (YPG) are responsible. Both have denied involvement.

Turkey, the United States, and the European Union all consider the PKK to be a terrorist organisation.

But the YPG has been allied with the US -- under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces -- in the fight against the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad
People look at a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes in the Syrian village of Taql Baql, Hasakeh province.AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad

Erdogan threatens ground offensive

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to launch a ground operation in Syria after the rocket attacks on Turkish soil.

"It is not a question of this operation being limited to an air operation," he told reporters on Monday. "We have already warned, we will make those who disturb us on our territory pay."

Erdogan has threatened to launch a new military operation in northern Syria since May, as well as creating a 30-kilometre "security zone" along its southern border.

Turkish warplanes also reportedly resumed airstrikes on Monday, hitting several areas including near the border town of Kobani.

Turkey has launched three major operations against Kurdish militants in northern Syria since 2016.

Erdogan said he had had "no discussions" with US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin about a new operation. Both Moscow and Washington DC support Syrian forces in the region.

The German government has called on Turkey to act in a "proportionate manner and in accordance with international law" and said reports of Turkish strikes on civilians are "extremely worrying".

“We call on Turkey and all other participants not to do anything that would further exacerbate the already tense situation in northern Syria and Iraq,” said German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger.

Germany also expressed solidarity with Ankara after the Istanbul bomb attack, which killed six people and wounded 80 others.