Up to 11 civilians – 10 of whom were named – including eight children aged between three and 15, a woman and an elderly man were reported killed, and 12 others – most of them are children – seriously injured in an alleged Turkish artillery attack on Tal Rifaat, in Aleppo governorate, Syria on December 2nd, 2019, according to local sources.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack happened near a primary school and a market in Tal Rifaat town where a Russian base is established. According to AFP, Maher Mohammed, 35, a vendor in the market, said it was the most frightening bombardment he had witnessed in years. “We ran inside the shops and threw ourselves on the ground,” the father of five told AFP. “They bombarded half the market,” he said.
A nine-year-old who survived the attack with injuries said, “We were playing in our neighborhood. A mortar shell fell near us, a shrapnel piece hit my hand and injured me. I was hospitalised afterwards. We live in Til Rifat, a mortar shell hit our house too.” Mihemed Kêfo, another injured child said that the attack took place when they were playing: “I was in the hospital when I opened my eyes ”.
@Raman_Hassi reported that a mother of one of the victims said, “”I was washing dishes. Suddenly our house was filled with shrapnel. I went out and called Arif (my son), but I did not see him. I only saw black smoke. When the smoke faded away, I saw my son on the ground as a martyr.”
A UNICEF statement said: “We are shocked and saddened by reports that eight children were killed and another eight were injured in attacks on Tal Rifaat town, northern Aleppo. All of them were under the age of 15.”
İbrahim Heftaro, one of the executives of Avrîn/Efrin Hospital, where the wounded were being treated, said: “Most of those injuries of the attack are critical. The district is heavily bombed and therefore the number of wounded and martyrs may increase.”
It is believed that most of the victims are IDPs who fled to Tal Rifaat from Afrin and that many of them have already lost family members in the war. Henîf Hemo, one of the injured children was quoted saying: “In Efrîn they bombed us and attacked us. We left our house and came here. They also attacked here. Are we terrorists? What have we done to bomb us? They killed my friends. What do they want from us? ”
The local time of the incident is unknown.