UPDATED AT 3:49 PM (EST)
Ballistic missile strikes hit oil tankers and markets across northern Syria on Friday near the Turkish border.
The strikes killed one person and wounded at least 11 others, Turkish state media and a source from the Turkish-backed faction that controls the region told Reuters.
Explosions rocked local oil refineries near the northern Syrian towns of al-Bab and Jarablus, sparking huge fires, a witness and Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency said, according to Reuters.
The source in the National Army, which controls areas of northwest Syria where Turkish troops have a presence, told Reuters that missile strikes had caused the blasts, injuring 11 individuals.
Anadolu said that they were ballistic missiles and that it was not clear who carried out the strikes, which it said injured 18 people, according to Reuters.
Turkey has supported insurgents who sought to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, though al-Assad, with Russian and Iranian assistance, has pushed back the fighters to an area in the the war-torn country’s northwest.
At the time of publication, reports are indicating that strikes were carried out by either Russian or Syrian government forces, specifically against oil markets controlled by opposition forces in northern Syria. Moreover, the reports are conflicting about whether the missiles were the Syrian Army’s OTR-21 Tochka-U or the Russian’s Iskander.
One strike hit oil tankers in al-Hamran, which is near Jarablus and northwest of the northern Syria town of Manbij, resulting in a massive explosion.
The exact location of theses strikes was determined as the al-Hamran crossing between the TFSA (Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army) and SDF-controlled (Syrian Democratic Forces) areas, according to a report. The supposed target were reportedly trucks smuggling oil.
Three missiles hit the al-Hamran crossing, according to Syrian journalist Mohamed Rasheed, “causing huge explosions and burning fuel vehicles at the targeted place.”
It has also been reported that a subsequent strike hit an oil market in the TFSA-held town of Tarhin, which is north of al-Bab. Reporting thus far has indicated that two missiles were launched from the major city of Aleppo.
These missile strikes come one week after U.S. President Joe Biden in his first known use of force as commander-in-chief launched an airstrike against an Iranian-backed militia target in Syria, which drew harsh criticism from both the political left and right.
The Wall Street Journal also reported Thursday that there was initially supposed to be a second airstrike the same day as the aforementioned one, but that Biden called it off at the last minute due to an intelligence report saying that there was a woman and some child at the site of the second Iranian-backed militia target.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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The Guardian, a left-wing media outlet, has taken down Osama bin Laden’s notorious “Letter to America” from its website this week after the words of the deceased terrorist mastermind, responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001, gained traction on social media.
The letter, which had been published on The Guardian’s website since 2002, resurfaced online, causing a sudden spike in traffic. Social media users unearthed and shared the anti-American and antisemitic content, propelling the document to viral status. The Guardian, acknowledging the increased circulation without the full context, opted to remove the transcript.
According to reports from Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for The Guardian stated, “The transcript published on our website 20 years ago has been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we have decided to take it down and direct readers to the news article that originally contextualized it instead.” The outlet declined to provide additional comments on the matter.
Osama bin Laden’s letter, translated into English, justified al-Qaeda’s attacks against the U.S. by citing American actions in Palestine. The deceased terrorist accused the U.S. of supporting the creation and continuation of Israel, labeling it one of the “greatest crimes” that must be erased. Bin Laden’s letter also propagated antisemitic tropes, claiming Jews control American policies, media, and the economy.
The 9/11 attacks, orchestrated by al-Qaeda, resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people and left thousands more injured. The letter’s resurgence occurred as it was shared by social media influencers on platforms like TikTok, with some expressing a change in perspective. Pro-Palestinian activist Lynette Adkins was among those who shared the letter online, prompting discussions and reflections.
The Guardian’s decision to remove the letter from its website underscores the sensitivity surrounding the content and its potential impact, particularly as young individuals across America engage with pro-Palestinian talking points. The episode has sparked debates about the influence of social media in reshaping perceptions and the responsibility of media outlets in disseminating controversial historical documents.
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