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Turkey accused of chemical weapons attack on Kurds in Syria

TURKEY has been accused of using chemical weapons in air strikes on Kurds in Sere Kaniye, the scene of fierce fighting in Ankara’s latest war and invasion of northern Syria.

Nato’s second-largest army is meeting solid resistance from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as battle rages for control of the strategically important border town.

Turkey has resorted to heavy artillery fire and air strikes as it struggles to make ground.

Ankara has allied with a myriad of jihadist groups that form the Free Syrian Army.

They are accused of the torture and summary execution of Kurdish forces, including Future Syria Party general secretary Hevrin Khelef.

She was dragged from her vehicle on Saturday and killed. An autopsy report released on Wednesday night revealed grim details of how she had been beaten and tortured before being shot several times through the head.

Late on Wednesday, it was alleged that Turkey had used the banned chemical weapon white phosphorus in an air strike on Sere Kaniye.

Sources on the ground told the Star that it was difficult for the claim to be verified as the SDF did not have the resources to carry out tests. 

SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali appealed to the international community for support.

“After eight days of fierce resistance by our fighters against heavy ground and aerial attacks of Turkey in Serekaniye, we suspect that unconventional weapons are being used against SDF fighters, based upon the reports and signs we receive from the besieged town,” he said.

“We urge international organisations to send their teams to investigate some wounds sustained in attacks. The medical facilities in north-east Syria lack expert teams following withdrawal of NGOs due to Turkish invasion attacks.”

It is not the first time Turkey has been accused of using chemical weapons against Kurds.

In February last year, its forces were suspected of using chlorine gas during Operation Olive Branch, the illegal invasion and occupation of Afrin.

Despite pleas from the Afrin Health Council, the international community refused to carry out investigations and Washington dismissed the claims as unlikely.

Turkey has a long history of chemical attacks stretching as far back as the 1930s, when the adopted daughter of Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk, Sabiha Gocken, dropped gas on Kurds during the Dersim Massacre.

And in 2011, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed as “slander” allegations that chemicals had been used against Kurdistan Workers Party fighters killed in air attacks in the Kazan Valley.

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