Syria: Four Kurds celebrating Newroz killed by Turkish-backed group

Syria: Four Kurds celebrating Newroz killed by Turkish-backed group
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Residents Jindires in northwest Syria have staged a protest after the deadly attack and called for the expulsion of Ahrar al-Sharqiya, a Turkish-backed faction that was earlier sanctioned by the US over crimes against civilians.

Four civilians were killed and two others injured on Monday by Turkish-backed militia in a town near the Turkish-occupied city of Afrin in northwest Syria, under Turkish occupation since March 2018, Rudaw reported citing a human rights lawyer.

The casualties were Kurds who were lighting a bonfire in celebration of Newroz, or "the new year," that marks the arrival of the new year on the spring equinox, and in a political context the day the fire of resistance against tyrants is rekindled.

Gunmen from the Ahrar al-Sharqiya faction opened fire on the group in the town of Jindires, lawyer Hussein Naso said.

Ahrar al-Sharqiya was sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department in July 2021 over "crimes against civilians," including "unlawful killings, abductions, torture, and seizures of private property." The group is known to have in its ranks former members of the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) condemned the attack, saying on Tuesday:

"We condemn this horrific and heinous act of hatred and malice, and we call on the international community, human rights organizations, and the United Nations Security Council to find out the reasons for this heinous crime and its circumstances.”

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) confirmed the incident and fatalities, putting the number of injured at three, all from the same Kurdish family.

A protest against Turkish-backed factions was staged by residents of Jindires after the deadly attack and the protesters called for the expulsion of Ahrar Al-Sharqiyah from the district, as they chanted "Azadi" ("Freedom"), SOHR said.

The leader of Ahrar Al-Sharqiya denied that the attack was carried out by the group.