UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — At a hospital in the northeastern city of al-Hasakah, a nurse carefully included the face of a burned-out Kurdish fighter who was wounded while fighting Turkish troops in a border town.
“I had two winks like the ones in your face, but now I have lost one,” said fighter Suleiman Kahraman Suleiman, 19, joking his nurse who burns his burns.
“I have only one dimple left now,” he said, pointing to the other side of his face, which has not been burned.
Suleiman and his friends were wounded in their battles against the Turkish army and its pro-Syrian factions following an October 9 attack in northeastern Syria.
The Turkish military operation against the Kurdish forces, which Ankara considers “terrorist”, killed 250 fighters in the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which forms the backbone of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, according to the outcome of the observatory of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, injuring hundreds of others.
Suleiman told AFP he was asleep when Turkish aircraft bombed his position in the border town of Ras al-Ain.
“I didn’t feel anything when the aircraft bombed our site. I was asleep, I woke up and saw all my body burned and covered in blood,” he said. “The fire was eating our whereabouts. The scene was terrible.”
The Kurdish self-administration in Syria on Thursday accused Turkish forces of using internationally banned weapons in their attack on the border town of Ras al-Ain, such as phosphorus and burning napalm, which Ankara denied absolutely.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has not been able to substantiate these accusations.
The fighter, who also took part in previous battles against ISIS, most recently in Baghouz earlier this year, and against pro-Turkish factions in Afrin in 2018, says he has “never seen weapons similar to those that caused his injury.”
– “Defend our dignity” –
Women and men flock to the hospital to inspect the wounded, while YPG fighters guard the rooms where the fighters are.
The Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria began after Washington, a key backer of the SDF, withdrew its troops from border points, which was seen as a departure from its Kurdish allies.
Syria’s Democratic Forces have lost 11,000 fighters in their battles against IS, backed by the US-led international coalition.
Following the start of the Turkish offensive, Washington began withdrawing its troops from the northern regions, paving the way for Ankara’s advance and control over a 120-kilometer border.
Inside one of the rooms, Ardal Walid, 19, lies on the bed and shrapnel fills his face as the burns extend to his ears and his lashes and burns are burned.
He sees on his phone how he and his comrades managed to detain a Turkish armor a few days ago.
“My father told me that I have to defend our dignity and the dignity of our homeland,” he told AFP. “All I think about now is to come back to defend my country and stand with my comrades against the Turkish army.”
Washington extracted an agreement with Ankara on Thursday, under which the latter agreed to suspend its attack for 120 hours, which is supposed to end on Tuesday, that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units withdraw from the buffer zone that Ankara wants at a depth of 32 kilometers within the Syrian territory and a length of 120 kilometers in the first stage.
On Sunday, the SDF withdrew from the border town of Ras al-Ain, which was controlled by Turkish troops.
However, the wounded fighters assert that their battle is not over.
“This hand will be a testimony to the fact that we defended this land with our bodies,” said Ali Sher, 21, among his colleagues in the hospital lobby.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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