Turkey resumes airstrikes on Syrian Kurdish enclave

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey resumed airstrikes in Syria’s Kurdish enclave of Afrin after a brief lull, killing and wounding several people, the military and Kurdish officials said Friday.

The attacks on border areas and the main town in the region began Thursday night and have been among the worst since the Turkish army and Ankara-backed opposition fighters began a ground and air campaign on the Afrin enclave three weeks ago, Kurdish officials said.

The offensive has displaced thousands of people, many of whom have gone to the town of Afrin that is already crowded with tens of thousands of displaced who fled violence in other parts of Syria over the years.


The new bloodshed came as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Emmanuel Macron of France discussed cooperating more closely to resolve the Syrian conflict in a phone call Friday.

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The civil war has killed about 400,000, displaced half the population and sent more than 5 million refugees mostly to neighboring countries.

In its statement, the Kremlin did not elaborate on the call between Putin and Macron. Russia has been one of President Bashar Assad’s strongest supporters, intervening in 2015 to tip the balance of power in his favor. France is among Assad’s harshest critics.

Macron’s office said he pushed for more robust peace talks, notably after a Russia-sponsored effort last month was boycotted by the Syrian opposition.

Macron also pressed Putin to stop ‘‘intolerable degradation of the humanitarian situation’’ in regions that have been pummeled by Syrian and Russian airstrikes in recent days, according to a statement from his office.


Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said F-16 jets resumed bombing Thursday night, striking the northwestern enclave’s Mount Bafilun, the villages of Sheik Huruz and Kefer Jenne, and the regions of Sheran, Jinderes, and Raju, among other targets.

Turkey’s military issued a brief statement Friday, saying its jets hit 19 targets, including shelters, ammunition depots, and gun positions belonging to ‘‘terror’’ organizations. All planes returned safely, the statement added.

Afrin-based Kurdish official Rezan Hiddo said by telephone that Turkish warplanes hit 23 points, adding that Turkey’s artillery in three areas near Afrin have been pounding the town.

‘‘For the past 21 days, the Turkish army has been violating all laws related to war,’’ Hiddo said.

Separately, the Turkish chief of military staff, General Hulusi Akar, and other commanders surveyed the operation from an airborne warning-and-control plane, the military said.


Unconfirmed Turkish media reports had said that Turkey halted flights after Russia closed the airspace over Afrin after militants shot down a Russian Su-25 fighter jet in Idlib province on Feb. 3. Russia effectively controls the skies over the northern region.

Anadolu and the private Dogan news agency later reported that Turkish troops and Turkey-backed opposition fighters cleared five villages of Kurdish fighters in the Afrin region.

Associated Press