BEIRUT: Six people were killed, including two children, in an attack on the Turkish-held city of Afrin in northern Syria on Thursday, the latest in a spate of attacks, a war monitor said.
It was not immediately clear who fired the artillery shells but the attack came from a region where Kurdish fighters and Syrian regime forces are present, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“Six people, including two children, where killed,” said the UK-based monitor which relies on sources inside Syria for its reports.
Nearly 30 others were wounded, it added.
The shelling came a week after a suicide bomber launched an attack near a military base run by Turkey-backed fighters in Afrin, according to the Observatory.
Turkey and its proxies have seized control of territory inside Syria in a number of military operations launched since 2016 against Daesh and the Kurdish YPG militia.
In March 2018, they seized Afrin after pushing the Syrian Kurd forces out.
On Thursday, Kurdish forces marked four years since Turkey launched its push into Afrin in an operation that triggered a wave of mass displacement.
“Recovering Afrin and (securing) the safe return of it’s inhabitants ... is our main priority,” Mazlum Abdi, the head of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, tweeted.
Nearly half-a-million people have been killed in the war in Syria, which has spurred the largest conflict-induced displacement since World War II, since it broke out in 2011.
Meanwhile, five Roman artifacts from the ancient city of Palmyra, a site damaged during the conflict, were returned to Damascus on Thursday by a private Lebanese museum where they had been on display since 2018.
The limestone statues and carved funerary stones dating from the second and third centuries AD were returned by a private Lebanese collector - Syrian antiquities chief Mohamed Nazir Awad said at a handover ceremony hosted by Lebanon’s National Museum in Beirut.
The collector, Jawad Adra, acquired them from European auction houses before Syria’s war began in 2011, Awad said, describing his actions as “a generous initiative.”
The pieces, which had been on display at the Nabu Museum in northern Lebanon, were returning to “their original homeland,” the Syrian regime official added.
During the Syrian conflict, the site of Palmyra, one of the most important cultural centers in the ancient world, fell under the control of Daesh, which destroyed some of its major monuments, including the Arch of Triumph.
Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim, said talks were underway to arrange the return of other artifacts from the National Museum in Beirut to Syria.