The Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Thursday that “A Turkish attack on US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters in northern Syria on August 28, killed 24 civilians, injuring 6 children”.
HRW stated that Turkish aircraft had struck SDF fighters who were positioned on the roof of houses in use by 50-55 civilians that had been evacuated from their houses near the village of Suraysat, located 12 kilometres south of the city of Jarablus.
The civilians had left their homes due to nearby fighting between the Turkish-backed militant groups which control Jarablus and the Syrian Democratic Forces on August 27, moving to their cousin’s houses a kilometre away from their homes.
‘Deaths of 24 civilians could have been avoided’
HRW added that “Between 10 and 15 fighters deployed among the civilians were also killed”, amid 24 civilian casualties as a result of Turkish airstrikes in the region.
“The deaths of 24 civilians could have been avoided if the SDF fighters hadn’t positioned themselves among buildings filled with civilians and Turkish forces had made a better effort to determine whether civilians were there,” said Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.
The Turkish army said 25 ‘terrorists’ were neutralized by the strike
It was also stated that the state-run Turkish Anadolu news agency reported that “25 terrorists have been neutralized”, and five buildings in use by fighters had been destroyed in Turkish airstrikes, as released by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on August 28, after armed groups had reportedly attacked Turkish forces in Jarablus.
Turkey has continuously insisted it is taking special measures to avoid civilian casualties in the region and had issued a statement at the time, saying that the claims that civilians were targeted or hit in the August 28 air strikes “do not reflect reality”.