The US on Sunday condemned an attack by the terror group YPG/PKK on a hospital in opposition-held northern Syria which killed at least 14 civilian patients and injured dozens.
“We condemn in the strongest terms yesterday’s attacks on the al Shifaa Hospital in Afrin, Syria,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“This barbaric attack took the lives of children, medical staff, and first responders. Civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, must never be the target of military action,” he added.
The statement said that the hospital’s coordinates have been shared with the UN deconfliction mechanism for Syria.
“This attack is part of a recent escalation of violence in northwest Syria and it must end,” it added.
The US called for an immediate nationwide ceasefire and a de-escalation in the country.
The statement made no mention of the YPG/PKK, a group the US has supported for years, and the group behind the attack.
Turkey has long condemned the terrorist attacks of the YPG/PKK in northern Syria, including in border areas Turkey worked to make safe from terrorists. It has also denounced US support for the terrorist YPG/PKK.
The US statement on the attack came less than a day before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet his US counterpart Joe Biden during a NATO summit in Brussels – their first meeting since Biden took office this January.
The US has claimed it supports the YPG/PKK as an ally to fight Daesh/ISIS, while Turkey argues that supporting one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.
14 dead, 32 injured
Saturday’s YPG/PKK attack on a hospital in opposition-held northwestern Syria killed at least 14 civilian patients and injured more than 32, said officials in southern Turkey.
In a statement, the Governor’s Office in Hatay, just across the border, said that grad missile and artillery shells fired by the YPG/PKK from the Assad regime-controlled Tal Rifat region hit the emergency department of the private Shifa Hospital in the center of the Afrin district.
Afrin was largely cleared of YPG/PKK terrorists in 2018 through Turkey’s anti-terror Operation Olive Branch, but the terror group still targets the region to disrupt the peace established by Turkish forces.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terror organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and to enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).