Turkey shells US-backed Kurdish militia positions in Syria

Turkey shells US-backed Kurdish militia positions in Syria: state media
2 min read
28 October, 2018
Turkish military shells targeted "shelters" of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) east of the Euphrates River in the Kobane region of northern Syria, Anadolu reported.

The shells targeted "shelters" of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria [Getty]
Turkey's military on Sunday fired artillery shells at a Kurdish militia in Syria that is backed by the United States but deemed a terrorist group by Ankara, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The shells targeted "shelters" of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) east of the Euphrates River in the Kobane region of northern Syria, Anadolu said.

The strikes come a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted a summit in Istanbul on the Syrian conflict with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany, in which they adopted a joint statement committing to work "together in order to create conditions for peace and stability in Syria".

It also follows numerous threats by Erdogan to launch a new offensive in Syria east of the Euphrates. On Friday he said he was giving the YPG a "final warning".

Anadolu reported that the strikes targeted YPG positions and trenches on a hill near the eastern bank of the Euphrates, across the river from the city of Jarablus.

The YPG is an ally of the US in the fight against the Islamic State group and holds swathes of northern and northeastern Syria.

However Ankara is bitterly opposed to the YPG, regarding it as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly insurgency in Turkey since 1984.

The PKK is designated as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.

Washington's support of the YPG remains a major point of contention between the US and Turkey, NATO allies who have seen relations deteriorate over the last two years.

Both oppose the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Turkey's military incursions have recently focused more on Kurdish militias near its border.

Turkey has launched two offensives west of the Euphrates since 2016 to repel jihadists from its border and prevent zones under YPG control from joining.