BEIRUT (AP) — Turkish shelling in northern Syria on Monday morning hit a vehicle, killing a Russian soldier and injuring several others, Syrian Kurdish media and an opposition war monitor reported.
Monday’s bombardment came after a day of violence between US-backed Kurdish fighters and Turkish troops in northern Syria that left several Kurdish people dead.
There was no immediate comment from the Russian military, Syrian government or Turkish officials on the reported shelling.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, reported that a Russian soldier was killed and four others injured when Turkish troops shelled a road linking the villages from Herbel to Um Hawsh in the province of Aleppo.
The news agency for the semi-autonomous Kurdish areas of Syria, Hawar News, reported that a Russian vehicle was hit, adding that there were casualties, but gave no breakdown. Another Kurdish news agency, the Northern News Agency, said one Russian soldier was killed and three injured.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that at least 12 suspected members of Syria’s main Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, had been killed after Turkish forces returned fire to an attack mortars against Turkish targets.
The ministry said on Twitter that Kurdish militants struck the Jibreen base in northern Syria as well as the Oncupinar region in southern Turkey on Sunday. There was no damage to the base or to the Turkish soldiers.
The Turkish military killed at least seven suspected militants in retaliatory strikes on Sunday and five more on Monday, according to the ministry.
The Observatory reported that a Turkish drone attack on Saturday evening killed three YPG fighters and injured two others, prompting the bombardment the following day.
Siamand Ali, spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, told The Associated Press that Turkish troops have intensified their attacks on Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria since presidential elections this month. here in Turkey. He did not comment on Monday’s attack.
Russia joined the war in Syria in 2015, launching an air campaign against the Syrian armed opposition and has since helped Syrian government forces take control of much of the country.
Syria’s 12-year conflict has claimed almost half a million lives and displaced half of the country’s 23 million pre-war inhabitants.