Two dead after rockets from Syria hit Turkish border town

REYHANLI, Turkey: Two people were killed and 16 were wounded in a Turkish border town on Friday by rockets fired from Syria, local authorities said, as Turkey continues its offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia. Three rockets hit neighbourhoods of Reyhanli in southern Turkey and 68-year-old Rifat Sinirli died in hospital, the state-run news agency Anadolu reported.
Reyhanli mayor Huseyin Sanverdi said on Twitter that a man was killed by a rocket fired from Syria’s Afrin region, a Kurdish enclave where the Turkish army has launched its offensive against the YPG militia deemed “terrorists” by Ankara.
Later in the afternoon, he announced a second man was killed in another attack by “treacherous terrorists.”
The Hatay governor’s office said 16 people were injured.
Sinirli’s funeral was attended by dozens of people including Hatay Governor Erdal Ata standing in front of a coffin covered with a Turkish flag.
His weeping relatives screamed: “Let the terrorists be cursed!”
Two rockets also hit the nearby border town of Kilis, one landing on a street and the other on an empty field near the state hospital, according to Anadolu.
There were no casualties in Kilis and the Turkish artillery fired in response, the agency reported.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier that 82 rockets have hit the Turkish border provinces of Kilis and Hatay, including the town of Reyhanli, since the start of the Turkish operation on January 20.
Seven people have been killed so far in mortar fire.
Turkey says the YPG is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.
But the YPG has been working closely with the United States against the IS extremist group in Syria.
Turkey detains 13: Turkish authorities on Friday detained 13 people for supporting the country’s main medical association whose top members are in custody for criticising Ankara’s offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia.
Police this week detained 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association’s (TTB) central council after the body said that “war is a man-made public health problem”.
The TTB has more than 83,000 members representing 80 per cent of Turkey’s doctors. A TTB official said three doctors of the 13 held on Friday were later released in Ankara under observation.
The TTB was among many critical of the operation and in a statement on January 24, said: “No to war; peace now and everywhere!”
The members had been accused of “legitimising the activities of a terrorist group”, “inciting hatred” and “praising crimes and criminals”, local media said.
Sinan Adiyaman, a doctor released on Friday, was defiant in a video shared on social media.
“We did our duty as doctors, and after this, we will continue our duty as doctors,” he said. “We will always be in favour of life, we will not be in favour of war.” — AFP