Turkey sends in reiforcements while troops clash with Kurds

Turkey sends in reiforcements while troops clash with Kurds
3 min read
27 August, 2016
Turkey troops have clashed with Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, as Ankara sends more tanks over the border for the offensive against IS militants.
Turkey has launched an operation to oust IS from the North [Getty]

Kurdish-backed fighters clashed with the Turkish armour in Syria on Saturday, as Ankara moves more tanks over the border.

"Turkish tanks advanced today near al-Amarneh in Aleppo province - south of the border - and clashes broke out between them and fighters backed by Kurdish forces," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

A source within northern Syria's Kurdish-controlled region confirmed the clashes.

Turkey sent six more tanks into Syria as Turkish forces and Syrian rebels work on making a border town safe after capturing it from the Islamic State group.

The Turkish military launched an operation codenamed "Euphrates Shield" inside Syria earlier this week to oust IS from the border region and also counter advances by a Kurdish militia detested by Ankara.

An AFP photographer in the village of Karkamis on the Turkish side of the border watched six Turkish tanks roll over the frontier into Syria on Saturday.

Raised tensions

The Hurriyet daily had reported earlier that the Turkish armed forces had 50 tanks and 380 personnel on the ground in Syria after three days of operations.

Turkish troops are supporting an even larger force of hundreds of Syrian rebels.

The photographer said that sporadic explosions were audible on the Turkish side of the border as the rebels carried out de-mining work in the town of Jarabulus seized from IS on Wednesday.

The state-run Anadolu news agency confirmed in a story datelined from Jarabulus that the rebels were working to destroy explosives left behind by IS militants.
Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria say Turkish airstrikes have hit their bases near Jarablus on Saturday.

It said that on Friday alone 20 different sets of explosives had been destroyed.

Turkey's leadership has made clear that the offensive is also aimed at ensuring that the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, which has led the fight against IS in the area, stay east of the Euphrates River.

Mutual allies

Ankara accuses the YPG of failing to stick to a promise made by its US allies that the militia would move back east across the Euphrates following the seizure of the town of Manbij from IS earlier this month.

On Thursday, Turkey shelled positions of the YPG near Manbij.

Hurriyet said that the Turkish armed forces had been given an order to "strike immediately" should the YPG be seen to make any move towards Jarabulus.

Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria say Turkish airstrikes have hit their bases near Jarablus on Saturday.

The Jarablus Military Council said the airstrikes on their bases in Amarneh village marked an "unprecedented and dangerous escalation" and came after Turkish artillery shelled the positions the day before.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the airstrikes. 

Turkey sees the YPG militia and its Democratic Union Party (PYD) political wing, which have links to Kurdish rebels in Turkey, as "terror groups" bent on carving out an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria.




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