Turkish patrol kills protester amid shaky truce in north-east Syria

Turkish patrol kills protester amid shaky truce in north-east Syria

A Syrian protester has died after he was run over by a Turkish military vehicle conducting a joint patrol with Russian troops in north-eastern Syria, a Kurdish spokesman and a Syrian war monitor said.

The man was among a group of residents who were pelting the convoy with shoes and stones. Videos circulating online showed a group trying to mount one of the vehicles and then shouting, apparently after the man was run over.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the man was run over in the border village of Sarmasakh by a Turkish vehicle during the third joint patrol under a ceasefire deal brokered by Moscow that forced Kurdish fighters to withdraw from areas bordering Turkey.

The patrols are aimed at allowing Ankara to ensure the Syrian Kurdish groups have evacuated the border zone. The agreement with Russia — and a separate one with the US — halted the Turkish invasion of Syria last month that targeted groups it considers a security threat for their links to a Kurdish insurgency in Turkey.

Other videos from the area showed men, women and children pelting armoured vehicles as they drove near a cemetery before speeding away.

The pelting of the Turkish-Russian patrol occurred east of the border town of Qamishli, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory, an opposition war monitor, and the Kurdish Hawar news agency.

Turkey’s Defence Ministry said the troops were patrolling a region between Qamishli and Derik, east of the Euphrates River.

An Associated Press journalist saw four Turkish armoured personnel carriers cross into Syria to join the Russian forces.

Mutafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, tweeted that Turkish troops fired tear gas at protesters in Derik, injuring 10 people. The town is controlled by the SDF and American forces, but the Turkish troops were passing through on the patrol.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained this week that Syrian Kurdish fighters were still in areas along the border, despite the separate agreements with Russia and the US.

He also said Turkish troops were being attacked by Syrian Kurdish fighters from areas they had retreated to, adding that Turkey would not “remain a spectator” to these assaults.

The UN said on Friday that 92 civilians have died so far as a result of Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN human rights office, said the death toll was based on “verified incidents” up to November 5.

Also in northern Syria, the Observatory and the Thiqa news agency, an activist collective, said a suicide attacker detonated a truck bomb outside a police station in the northern town of Rai which is controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

The Observatory said the blast killed three people, while Thiqa reported two civilian deaths.

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