At least four girls killed by a Turkish drone strike in northeast Syria, NGO says

The offensive hit a UN-backed centre in northeastern Syria

AFP/BIROL BEBEK  -   Turkish drone

At least four girls were killed and 17 others wounded in a Turkish drone strike on a UN-backed centre in northeastern Syria last night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.

The drone strike hit a "rehabilitation centre" for underage girls in the self-proclaimed Kurdish administration, located in the village of Shmoka in the north of Al-Hasaka province in northeastern Syria, according to the NGO, which is based in the UK but has a wide network of partners on the ground.

The centre aims to return the girls in the programme "to their families", without giving further details.

The village is located just two kilometres from a base of the US-led international coalition, the Observatory said.

The attack comes days after the Turks carried out a series of bombings against the northern Syrian town of Kobane, which is controlled by the Democratic Syrian Forces, a Kurdish-led armed alliance.

According to the Observatory, at least 17 people were killed, while the official Syrian news agency SANA said three Syrian soldiers were killed.

In response to these attacks, the FSD said yesterday that it killed seven Turkish military personnel in three operations, without giving dates.

Ankara, which is a supporter of the Syrian opposition and directly dominates several areas seized in three previous operations in northern Syria, has been threatening for the past couple of months to launch a new offensive against areas held by the FSD.

Turkey considers the People's Protection Units, the main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces, to be a terrorist organisation because of its alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Turkey's Kurdish guerrilla group.