Photo shows Avsta Khabur, a Kurdish female fighter, who is believed to have detonated herself to destroy a Turkish tank in Afrin, Syrian Kurdistan, on January 27, 2018. Photo: ANHA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region- A 20-years-old Kurdish female fighter named as Avesta Khabur has detonated herself to destroy a Turkish tank on Saturday, the mainly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces claimed in a statement on Sunday.
She was a member of the all-female Women's Protection Units (YPJ), an armed group in control of the Kurdish canton of Afrin in northwestern Syria that has come under Turkish military attacks since January 20.
“After the attacks against the Hemame village, our fighter Avesta Khabur of the Anti-Terror units courageously attacked a tank with explosives, dying in the process,” a statement by the US-backed SDF forces read.
It claimed that she was able to “destroy” the tank and kill all those inside it.
There was no confirmation from the Turkish side.
YPJ and its male counterpart YPG are the backbone of the SDF forces whose primarily role in Syria is fighting the remaining ISIS militants.
The fighter joined the ranks of YPJ in 2014 and her real name is Zlukh Hamo born in the Balbala district, according to the statement.
A video posted by media close to YPJ claims to show her three months before her death. It is a video message to her family assuring them of her health and wishes her family good health.
The Turkish military and its Syrian proxies have launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 whose stated objective is to drive out the Kurdish fighters from the border strip between Turkey and Syria.
Turkish military stated on Sunday they were able to capture the strategic Mount Barsaya, northeast of Afrin. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the Turkish progress.
Turkey has vowed to expand the operation to the entire border strip between his country and the Kurdish enclave, Rojava.
Ankara has demanded its NATO ally, the United States, to remove its troops from the SDF-held Manbij located east of the Euphrates River.
Colonel Ryan Dillon, the spokesperson for the US-led Coalition against ISIS told Rudaw on Saturday that they will stay in Manbij ‘until told otherwise.”
The YPG has admitted they lost 43 fighters as of Saturday since the operation began.
The Syrian Observatory reported that Turkish shelling in Kubla village in southwest Afrin has killed eight people from the same family including five children.
At least 51 civilians have been killed since the start of the operation, the Observatory stated including 17 children and seven women.
The United Nations had earlier confirmed the death of at least 11 children in Afrin.