Turkish drones kill 3 in an attack on a local Christian militia in northeastern Syria, officials say

Turkish drone strikes in northeastern Syria have killed at least three members of a local Christian force and wounded others

Also on Wednesday, in the southern Syrian city of Sweida, security forces opened fire at protesters angry over the country’s worsening economy as they tried to break into the offices of President Bashar Assad’s ruling Baath Party. A 52-year-old man was shot in the chest and later died of his wounds.

The force that was targeted, the local Christian Syriac police known as Sutoro, works under the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

Siamand Ali of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces told The Associated Press that the Turkish drones initially hit three Suturo vehicles near the northeastern town of Malikiyah. When a fourth vehicle, a pick-up truck, arrived at the scene to retrieve the casualties from the strike, it also came under attack, he said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said three Suturo police members were killed, as well as one civilian.

The Observatory said the attack was the latest of 65 such strikes so far this year in northeastern Syria that have killed 18 people, mostly Kurdish fighters.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency however, reported on Tuesday that the Turkish intelligence agency, MIT, had killed a senior Kurdish fighter member in an operation in the northern Syrian town of Qamishli.

The report identified the woman operative as Emine Seyid Ahmed, a Syrian national, who allegedly went by the code name of “Azadi Derik.”

She reportedly joined the Kurdish Women Protection Units, or YPJ, in 2011 and allegedly planned a number of attacks against Turkish security forces as well as cross-border missile attacks targeting civilians in Turkey, Anadolu reported.

In Sweida, the local activist media collective Suwayda24 identified the protester killed during Wednesday’s anti-government rally as Jawad al-Barouki.

Suwayda24 chief editor Rayan Maarouf told The Associated Press that the man was rushed to the Sweida National Hospital, but died shortly after at the intensive care unit as the there was no pulmonary doctor at the ICU.

The death marked the first fatality in anti-government protests in Sweida, which erupted last August, with the demonstrators mainly from the country’s ethnic Druze minority.

The protests, spurred by surging inflation, quickly turned to calls for the ouster of Assad’s government and harked back to the first rallies during the 2011 uprising that later spiraled into Syria’s civil war.

Another protester was wounded in Wednesday’s shooting, the media collective said.

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