— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) October 11, 2023
Grief and anger swept through the North and East Syrian cities of al-Malikiyah (Dêrik), Qamishli (Qamişlo) and Hasakah (Hesekê) as thousands gathered to pay respects to fallen members of an anti-narcotics unit killed under a Turkish bombardment of al-Malikiyah’s internal security (Asayish) centre.
The mourners, who began arriving at the three cities’ hospital morgues during the early hours, united in a sombre procession with mixed grief and indignation. Chants of solidarity and defiance echoed through the crowd as they paid tribute to the victims, shouting slogans such as “We are with you with our blood, O martyr” and “We will not leave your blood on the ground”.
On 8 October, a Turkish air strike on the Internal Security Academy of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) killed 29 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) anti-narcotics unit and injured 28 others, some seriously.
Turkey has been launching an onslaught of air, artillery and drone strikes on several locations in Kurdish-held areas of Syria since 5 October. These attacks have taken a heavy toll, hitting vital civilian infrastructure including gas, water, electricity and oil facilities.
Turkish forces have reportedly targeted a total of 224 sites in this onslaught. These sites were spread across a wide range of areas, including 28 key infrastructure targets, 150 residential locations and 34 military bases, including 21 held by Syrian government forces. In addition, seven agricultural areas, three factories, a school and a hospital were targeted, as reported by the monitoring and documenting unit of local news outlet North Press.
A total of 304 strikes have been recorded in the Turkish military offensive. Of these, 221 were carried out by artillery and heavy weapons, 25 by fighter jets and 58 by drones.
Civilian casualties rose to 24, including nine fatalities and 15 injured. Meanwhile, the number of military casualties has risen to 70, with 39 killed and 31 wounded.
On Monday, the AANES declared three days of general mourning in the face of the casualties caused by Turkey’s ongoing attacks on the region.