Turkish raids in northern Syria on Sunday struck outposts operated by the Syrian regime army and Kurdish-led forces, killing three, a Britain-based war monitor said.
The raids near the Kurdish-held border town of Kobane targeted positions of the Syrian regime army and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The three casualties were wearing Syrian regime army uniforms, according to the monitor.
Several other fighters were wounded, some in critical condition, according to the Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.
The strikes were preceded by cross-border shelling from near Kobane against Turkish forces, according to the monitor.
It comes as Turkey’s defence ministry on Sunday said militants carried out an attack with a rocket launcher on a Turkish military post near the Syrian border.
It was not immediately clear whether the two incidents were related.
The defence ministry did not identify the militants, but Turkish forces are in conflict with the SDF.
Turkey says the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, a key part of the SDF, is a terrorist organisation and a wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which for decades has carried out an insurgency against Ankara.
Ankara’s defence ministry said that after the attack on the post at Suruc, in Sanliurfa province, Turkish forces retaliated.
“Targets were identified in the area and immediately fired upon, with 12 terrorists neutralised according to initial information,” the statement said.
The term neutralized usually means killed.
It added that operations were continuing in the area.
Last month, the Syrian regime said it would respond to direct attacks by Turkey against its forces.
The warning came after a Turkish raid on a regime outpost near Kobane killed at least three troops in mid-August, according to the Syrian regime’s official SANA news agency.
Turkey has launched a series of cross-border offensives targeting Kurdish forces and the Islamic State group since 2016, but such operations have rarely resulted in the killing of Syrian regime fighters.
Ankara has stepped up its attacks in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a 19 July summit with Iran and Russia failed to greenlight a fresh offensive against Kurdish fighters viewed by Ankara as terrorists.
Regime forces have deployed in areas controlled by Kurdish fighters near the border with Turkey as part of agreements intended to stem a fresh Turkish operation.
Last week, the UN’s Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria said that “another Turkish ground operation” remains a threat in Syria’s north, amid “continued mobilisation and fighting” between Turkish and Turkish-backed forces and Kurdish-led opponents.
“Syria cannot afford a return to larger-scale fighting, but that is where it may be heading,” warned Paolo Pinheiro, the head of the commission.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.