CEYLANPINAR, Turkey: A Syrian fighter jet bombed a rebel-held area near the Turkish border yesterday, killing at least six people and wounding a dozen others, an official said. One rocket-propelled grenade landed in Turkey,
An Associated Press journalist saw the plane bomb an area around the Syrian border town of Ras Al-Ayn three times. A Turkish official said one bomb hit a suspected Syrian rebel target about 50 or 60 meters away from the border with Turkey.
Last week Syrian rebels overran three security compounds there and wrestled control of the town, located in Syria’s predominantly Kurdish, oil-producing northeastern province of Al-Hasaka.
Turkish ambulances ferried 18 wounded Syrians across the border to a hospital in the southeastern Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, a local official said, adding that six of the wounded died. He said the death toll from the attack was expected to rise.
Hours later, a Syrian helicopter was seen flying over Ras Al-Ayn, prompting rebels to fire on it with machine guns. The helicopter returned fire but it was not clear if there were any casualties.
Earlier yesterday, a rocket-propelled grenade round landed on an empty field near Ceylanpinar. No one was injured, the official said.
Dogan agency video footage showed Syrians scrambling across the border yesterday past a barbed wire fence, as Turkish soldiers in helmets, some of them in foxholes, directed them.
Also yesterday, a Syrian helicopter bombed rebel positions in an area further south of Ras Al-Ayn and the rebels could be heard responding with machine guns, the Turkish official said.
He said the rebels had besieged a Syrian military unit in the region of Esfar Najar and the helicopter was trying to open up an escape route for the Assad regime forces. It was also seen dropping ammunition and food for the soldiers, the official said.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched an emergency appeal yesterday for $34.1 million to help up to 170,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey.
“The Turkish Red Crescent Society is extending its existing response to prepare for the onset of winter and to increase its assistance to up to 170,000 displaced people over the coming months,” the IFRC said in a statement.
The extra cash was expected to last for six months, Simon Eccleshall, IFRC head of disaster and crisis management, told reporters in Geneva.
He acknowledged though that it was “not unimaginable that (the emergency aid) figure will need to increase,” adding: “We will be regularly revising contingency plans (and perhaps) the emergency appeal.”
“The numbers are significant in Turkey,” he said, pointing out that as of November 5, 110,649 Syrians were registered in camps in Turkey — more than double the number in July.
Turkey currently counts 14 camps, all but one of which are tent camps, and three others are under construction to accommodate the steady influx, according to the IFRC.
The extra aid would go to providing winter assistance to the around 100,000 camp-dwellers, as well as emergency food and non-food assistance to up to 20,000 people at the Turkish-Syrian border, Eccleshall said.
“The number of people congregating on the Syrian side of the border fluctuates day to day,” he said.