At least two explosions rocked downtown Afrin on Wednesday.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An unknown group self-identifying as the Afrin Falcons has claimed responsibility for three bombings in the Kurdish city of Afrin on Wednesday. The group said similar attacks will follow.
“The explosion of two cars in Afrin, first at the Kawa Square and second at the Villa’s street. There are more surprises. We won’t spare any one of you,” reads a Facebook post by the Afrin Falcons.
Two explosions occurred at Kawa Square in front of al-Jabha al-Shamia headquarters: the first one because of a booby-trapped car and the second due to an explosive belt. A third explosion took place in front of Dersim Hospital where there are many wounded victims, Afrin Activists Network reported.
Local sources told Rudaw three people were killed and several others wounded by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).
The square is where a statue of Kawa the Blacksmith once stood before being torn down during Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.
Al-Jabha al-Shamia is a militia backed by Turkey in opposition to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Tensions were reported in the city between the al-Mutasim and al-Jabha al-Shamia brigades by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday.
ANHA, a media outlet close to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), claimed 20 were killed, including Turkish proxy fighters and civilians.
The Syrian Observatory reported one proxy fighter killed and 10 injured.
Orient News, a media outlet close to the Syrian opposition, reported six were killed and 20 injured, including the son of the head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Military Police.
No other group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“We from the Afrin Falcons tell our people, nation and those who want to discover who we are, be certain that we are the sons of Afrin from the land of olive. Our goal is to avenge the martyrs of Afrin and the martyrs of Rojava generally,” reads the post published on Wednesday.
Dozens of Afrin’s youth are ready to sacrifice themselves “against the Turkish occupation,” it said.
“Let history record that the descendants of Erdogan don’t have much [time] left to remain in our land and homes,” it added.
The group urged civilians to avoid the official headquarters and large groups of FSA fighters, which may be future targets.
Syriancivilwarmap, a crowdsourcing website dedicated to tracking the Syrian civil war through maps, tweeted a screen grab from its conversation with the alleged group on Wednesday. The group said it is not allied with the YPG.
“Are you part of YPG?” reads the question from Syriancivilwarmap.
“No. We showed that since day one,” the group replied, without further clarification.
The Kurdish city of Afrin was seized in March by the Turkish military and its Syrian proxies in Ankara’s Operation Olive Branch. The military incursion was launched with the stated aim of pushing the YPG back from the Turkish border.
Ankara believes the YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a named terrorist organization in Turkey, the EU, and the US. Both groups deny any organic links.