Baby among six killed during Syrian mortar fire on Turkish border towns

A nine-month-old baby was among six people killed during Syrian mortar and rocket fire into Turkish border towns, according to officials.

Three people, including the infant along with an 11-year-old girl and a man, died and 45 others were injured as shells rained down on Akcakale and Ceylanpinar, the governor’s office of Sanliurfa said in a statement.

The Turkish defence ministry said it hit targets in Syria in retaliation.

Separately, three people – including two girls aged 12 and 15 – were killed and more than 20 people wounded during strikes in the border town of Nusaybin, Mardin governor’s office said.

Mortar attacks from Kurdish-held northeastern Syria have increased significantly since Turkey launched a military offensive into the area Wednesday.

That followed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from the country, paving the way for an assault on forces that have long been allied with the US.

Trump’s decision drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, with many saying it has endangered not only the Kurds and regional stability but US credibility as well. The Syrian Kurdish militia was the only US ally in the campaign that brought down the Islamic State group in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that more than 60,000 have fled their homes in northern Syria since Wednesday.

Residents fled with their belongings loaded into cars, pickup trucks and motorcycle rickshaws, while others escaped on foot.

The UN refugee agency said tens of thousands were on the move, and aid agencies warned that nearly a half-million people near the border were at risk.

Norway, a NATO ally of Turkey, followed Finland in announcing it would suspend new arms exports to the country in light of the offensive.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he had reached out to his Turkish counterpart to express ‘disappointment and concern’ about the offensive and to urge restraint.

He added that ‘the intervention risks greater humanitarian suffering and undermines the focus on countering’ the activities of the Islamic State group.

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