Kurdish politician and 10 others killed by ‘Turkish-backed militia’ in Syria, SDF claims

Updated 5:39 PM EDT, Sun October 13, 2019
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(CNN) —  

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say a prominent politician, her driver, members of Kurdish security forces and several civilians were killed by Turkish-backed militants in Syria on Saturday, after videos circulating online appeared to show the killings.

The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army or FSA (also called the Syrian National Army), have denied those claims. CNN cannot independently verify the videos.

A video circulating on social media purports to show the bullet-riddled SUV of Secretary-General of the pro-Kurdish Future Syria Party, Hevrin Khalaf, surrounded by several men wearing what appears to be military fatigues.

In a separate video, a body of a woman – believed to be Khalaf – is seen lying in rubble with her face and hair covered in dust. At least one man can be seen standing over her and filming. He taps the body with his feet and says, “this is the corpse of pigs.” The video is filmed up close and little else can be seen in the clip.

Local journalist Ousama Muhammed, who knows Khalaf, told CNN that the vehicle belongs to her. Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Council – the political wing of the SDF (who led the charge in defeating ISIS in Syria) – blamed Turkish-backed militias in a statement on Khalaf’s death.

“She was taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions on the International Road between Qamishlo and Manbij, with her driver who was also martyred,” the statement said.

Turkish media reports that Khalaf had been killed by aerial bombardment. CNN cannot independently verify how or where Khalaf died.