Mortars land daily in Turkish border towns – report

Mortars from northern Syria are landing on a daily basis in and around Turkey’s border towns as the Turkish army pressed on with an incursion into Afrin to battle Kurdish militants, the Washington Post said.

Explosions in the small town of Reyhanli, close to Turkey’s border with Syria, are beginning to sound all too familiar and ominous, reported the newspaper’s Louisa Loveluck.

“This is happening every day now,” said Fatma, a Turkish mother of two. “I’m just waiting for it all to be over.”

In Reyhanli and Kilis, another border settlement, many people are furious about the cross-border attacks. In one incident, a blacksmith and a butcher’s son were taken to hospital as a midday mortar landed.

“That building was a smithy,” said one eyewitness, who didn’t want to give his name as a plainclothes policeman watched on, Loveluck said. “I hope they finish off those terrorists soon. It’s the only way to bring peace around here.”

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) deny that they are firing mortars into Turkey. Many of the towns along the border are predominantly Kurdish. The YPG is an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), recognized as terrorists by the United States and European Union, and Turkey says the two groups are indistinguishable from one another.

Popular support for the military incursion — code-named Operation Olive Branch — appears widespread, and the government has shown little tolerance for criticism, arresting hundreds who did so, Loveluck said.

One Syrian man, who fled the country to Turkey said his Turkish friends had become angry that their own country’s soldiers had been dragged into the war, she said.