Middle East

Syria war: Outcry over dead female Kurdish fighter

Kurdish female fighter Barin Kobani (right) Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Barin Kobani (right) was killed in northern Afrin earlier this week, reports say

Kurds in Syria have reacted furiously to a video showing the body of a female Kurdish fighter killed in battle during a Turkish-led offensive.

Barin Kobani, who was part of all-female unit in northern Syria, was seen surrounded by Turkish-backed rebels.

Kurdish officials initially accused the rebels of mutilating her corpse, but later said she had blown herself up.

Last month, Turkish troops and their Syrian allies launched a campaign to capture the Kurdish-held Afrin region.

The Turkish army said seven Turkish soldiers were killed in action on Saturday, including five who died in an attack on a tank by the Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units) militia.

It was the heaviest Turkish death toll in one day since the operation began on 20 January.

Barin Kobani was part of the YPG's all-female unit, the YPJ. She was killed during fighting earlier this week in the northern part of the region, reports say.

Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist group and an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in south-eastern Turkey for three decades.

The US has provided the YPG and allied Arab fighters with weapons and air support to help them battle the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

A video emerged on social media earlier this week, and the woman was soon identified as Barin Kobani.

The footage shows a group of rebels standing around the bloodied body of a woman lying on the ground. The body has a deep abdominal wound.

"We hold the Turkish government responsible for this heinous act," Kurdish-led authorities said.

Barin Kobani's family were among thousands of people who took part in a mass funeral in Afrin on Saturday for people killed in the conflict

Turkey has not publicly commented on the video.

Thousands of people have been displaced by the Turkish-led offensive, launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a bid to crush the YPG, which controls Afrin and more than 400km (250 miles) of Syria's northern border.

Some 10,000 Syrian rebels are taking part in the campaign.

Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to two videos showing Barin Kobani's body. One of the videos is now thought to be of a second dead female fighter.

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