A Syrian protester was killed after he was run over by a Turkish military vehicle during a joint Turkish-Russian patrol in northeastern Syria on Friday, Kurdish forces and a Syria war monitoring group said.
The man was among a group of residents who had chased and pelted the convoy with shoes and stones, prompting Turkish troops to fire tear-gas to disperse the protesters. Ten people were hospitalized, according to the Rojava Information Center, an activist operated group in Kurdish-held areas.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group, said the man was run over in the village of Sarmasakh near the border by a Turkish vehicle which was conducting a joint patrol with the Russians — the third under a cease-fire deal brokered by Moscow that forced Kurdish fighters to withdraw from areas bordering Turkey.
The patrols are aimed at allowing Turkey to ensure that the Syrian Kurdish fighters, formerly allied with the U.S., have evacuated the border zone after America began pulling its troops out of northeastern Syria. The agreement with Russia — and a separate one with the U.S. — halted the Turkish invasion of Syria last month that targeted groups it considers a security threat for their links to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.
Videos circulating online Friday showed a group of men running after the Turkish-Russian vehicles as they drove, throwing stones at it. A man is seen trying to mount one of the vehicles and then the men can be heard shouting, apparently after the man is run over. Other videos from the area showed men, women and children pelting armored vehicles as they drove near a cemetery before speeding away.
There was no immediate comment from the Russian or Turkish military about the incident.
Turkey's Defense Ministry said the troops were patrolling a region between Qamishli and Derik, east of the Euphrates River. It said the patrols were being supported by drones, but provided no further details.
An Associated Press journalist saw four Turkish armored personnel carriers cross into Syria to join the Russian forces.
Mutafa Bali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, tweeted that Turkish troops fired tear gas on protesters in Derik, injuring 10 people. The town is controlled by SDF and American forces, but the Turkish troops were passing through on the patrol.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained this week that Syrian Kurdish fighters were still present in areas along the border, despite the separate agreements with Russia and the United States.
Erdogan also said Turkish troops were being attacked by some Syrian Kurdish fighters from areas they had retreated to, adding that Turkey would not "remain a spectator" to these assaults.
The U.N. said on Friday that 92 civilians have died so far as a result of Turkey's incursion into northern Syria. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. human rights office, said the death toll was based on "verified incidents" that included to Nov. 5.
Also in northern Syria, the Observatory and the Thiqa news agency, an activist collective, said on Friday a suicide attacker detonated a truck outside a police station in the northern town of Rai that is controlled by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.
The Observatory said the blast killed three people, while Thiqa reported two civilian deaths.
Bombings in areas held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters in northern Syria are not uncommon. Last week, 13 people were killed in a blast in the town of Tal Abyad, which Turkish troops and opposition fighters they back captured last month.
Iraq's most senior Shiite spiritual leader called Friday for a road map out of the impasse, saying the country's political class has a "unique opportunity" to meet the demands of protesters who have taken to the streets for weeks, demanding change — only to have their rallies met with a deadly crackdown.
In the latest violence, masked men attacked anti-government protesters in the southern city of Basra late on Thursday, killing five people, Iraqi state TV and medical officials said.
The shooting also wounded around 120, said medical officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Since the unrest erupted on Oct. 1, more than 250 people have been killed. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in the capital, Baghdad, and across the largely Shiite south to demand sweeping political change.
The demonstrators complain of widespread corruption, lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, including regular power cuts despite Iraq's vast oil reserves. They have snubbed limited economic reforms proposed by the government, calling for it to resign.
In his Friday sermon, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said it is the responsibility of the security forces to maintain the peacefulness of the protests and avoid using excessive force in dealing with the demonstrators.
Al-Sistani has always appealed on both sides to avoid violence. On Friday, he said most of the protesters have remained peaceful but that a violent minority should avoid confrontation with security forces and attacks on government buildings.
He also warned the protesters against being exploited by "internal and external forces" that had for decades had a role in harming Iraq. He didn't elaborate.
In a call to quickly find a way out of the impasse, al-Sistani urged politicians to devise a roadmap that meets the protesters' demands.
"The political powers ... have a unique opportunity to respond to people's demands, according to an agreed upon roadmap, that should be implemented in a specific period to put an end to a long period of corruption," said Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalaie, al-Sistani's representative. "It is no longer permissible to procrastinate on this issue because of the great risks facing the country."
The protests pose the biggest challenge to the government since it declared victory over militants from the Islamic State group nearly two years ago. Driven by economic grievances, the demonstrations have also exposed long-simmering resentment at the country's powerful Shiite political parties and militias with close ties to Iran.
Al-Sistani, in a nod to the militias that have played a key role in fighting IS, said no one should criticize those fighters in a way that undermines or ignore their sacrifices. "If peaceful protests and strikes are possible today away from the terrorists' harm, it is thanks to those heroic men," his representative said.
In Baghdad on Friday, Iraqi state television said explosives experts found a bomb under one of the city's bridges and carried out a controlled explosion.
The Sinak bridge over the Tigris River has been a daily flashpoint between security forces and protesters trying to force their way into the heavily fortified Green Zone, where government headquarters are located. The report didn't elaborate or say why the bomb was not removed from such a key location first, before the controlled explosion took place.
Also Friday, protester Amir Shami said security forces tore down tents at a protest sit-in in the holy city of Karbala.
The air defense forces of Iran's army targeted an "unknown" drone over the sky of southern port city of Mahshahr on Friday, Tasnim news agency reported.
Gholamreza Shariati, the governor of Iran's southwestern Khuzestan province, told official IRNA news agency that the targeted drone "definitely" belonged to a foreign country.
The debris of the drone has been recovered and investigations are underway to identify its origin, Shariati said.
Iran's cut of commitments pertaining to the 2015 nuclear deal is a "wake-up call" for the remaining parties of the deal to protect Iran's interests, Iran's Ambassador to Britain Hamid Baeidinejad was quoted as saying by Press TV Friday.
Baeidinejad said Iran's recent measure to resume uranium enrichment at its Fordow nuclear facility was "adopted as a warning to the other sides and the international community that we are at a crisis."
Iran will continue to increase its nuclear activity every two months unless it receives the economic benefits it was promised when it signed the nuclear deal with world powers in July 2015, he said.
"We hope this warning would encourage all other parties to implement their commitments," he added.
In a reaction to the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark 2015 Iranian nuclear deal in May 2018 and the subsequent sanctions, and in a response to the Europe's sluggishness in facilitating Iran's banking transactions and its oil exports, Iran, since six months ago, has staged moves to drop its nuclear commitments.
Besides the recent move to begin enrichment activities in Fordow, Iran has stated to build stockpiles of nuclear fuel and enrich low-grade uranium to a higher level of purity. It also started up advanced centrifuges to boost the country's stockpile of enriched uranium and research activities, all of which had been restricted by the nuclear deal.
At least six people were killed in a 5.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Tark region in Iran's northwestern East Azerbaijan province on Friday morning, Iranian Student News Agency reported.
In the incident that took place at 02:17 local time Friday morning (2247 GMT), 380 others were also injured.
Many of the people were injured while trying to flee their houses in panic.
The incident was followed by more than 60 aftershocks, causing people to stay outdoors in the middle of night.
The tremor hit 80 villages and damaged 500 houses.
The water and gas supplies, which were disrupted in some of the villages, have been resumed.
"Rescue teams and helicopters have been dispatched to the quake-hit areas and hospitals are on full alert to help injured people," the head of Iran's emergency medical services Pirhossein Kolivand told state TV.
The earthquake was felt in five other provinces adjacent to the quake-hit region.