Omair al-Najjar had solely been married for 9 days when the missile exploded within the centre of Azaz on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old was one of many 5 civilians who died within the assault on the Syrian opposition metropolis in northern Aleppo province.
Al Jazeera was unable to confirm who fired the missiles, however the Syrian Civil Defence, often known as the White Helmets, mentioned that the missiles had been fired from areas managed by the Syrian authorities and the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
“He moved to Azaz as a result of it was a protected zone, away from the assaults of the Syrian regime and Russia,” certainly one of al-Najjar’s relations, who didn’t want to be named, instructed Al Jazeera. Al-Najjar had left his dwelling city of Kafarouma, close to Maarat al-Numan, on the finish of 2019, as Syrian authorities forces superior in town, earlier than they ultimately seized management of it in the beginning of 2020.
He ultimately discovered work in a garments store in Azaz’s city centre – the place he was ultimately killed.
Tuesday’s assault got here after days of Turkish air assaults in opposition to the predominantly Kurdish YPG, or Individuals’s Safety Models, in addition to YPG rocket assaults on Turkey and opposition-controlled areas of Syria. Civilians on either side have died within the assaults.
Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian department of the Kurdistan Employees’ Occasion (PKK), a delegated “terrorist” group in Turkey, the US and the European Union.
The current uptick in violence got here as Turkey threatened a brand new floor operation following the November 13 Istanbul bombing, which it blamed on the YPG and the PKK, regardless of their denials. There have been fears that the safety scenario in Azaz, beforehand a comparatively protected space below Turkish safety, will deteriorate.
“I’ve survived loss of life, however the odor of blood stuffed the place, and I remembered the earlier strikes that hit after I lived in Maarat al-Numan,” mentioned Hassan al-Khatib, one of many survivors of the Azaz assault, who works as a lawyer.
“I selected Azaz as a result of it’s a border area, and it’s protected because it’s away from [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad and Russia,” mentioned al-Khatib. “Nonetheless, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) strike populated areas, along with the rising army escalation every day.”
“If Azaz, which we thought of to be the most secure place to dwell, is below assault, then I don’t suppose there’s anyplace that’s protected,” he added.
In line with Firas Fahham, a Syrian researcher on the Istanbul-based Jusoor for Research think-tank, the assaults on Turkey indicated an escalation.
“The SDF concentrating on of Turkey is proof that the SDF is taking the Turkish threats in opposition to them severely,” Fahham mentioned, blaming the current assaults on Turkish border areas on the SDF.
“Evidently the SDF fears that Turkey will act on its threats and is trying to make it extra expensive for Turkey [to carry out an operation] by placing stress on it and placing Turkish border areas in an try to have an effect on Turkish public opinion and embarrass the Turkish authorities with presidential elections approaching,” Fahham added.
Regardless of Turkey’s earlier and quite a few threats to launch a army offensive in opposition to the SDF forces, Fahham believed that issues could also be totally different this time, on account of Russia’s difficulties in Ukraine. Russia, together with Western nations and Iran, have repeatedly warned in opposition to a brand new Turkish floor offensive in opposition to the SDF.
Syrian opposition forces, together with the Syrian Nationwide Military, have mentioned that they’re able to take part in any upcoming Turkish army operation in opposition to the SDF.
“Our forces have beforehand performed intense coaching in preparation for a brand new army operation that was postponed for numerous causes,” mentioned Al-Farouk Abubakr, a pacesetter within the Syrian Nationwide Military (SNA).
“Elevating the readiness of the SNA has coincided with the Turkish military’s preparations, and the Turkish president’s statements on the potential of floor forces taking part … in an operation,” Abubakr added.