Turkey shells Kurdish YPG in northwestern Syria

YPG fighters.

Turkish forces shelled and destroyed with artillery fire Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets overnight after YPG fighters clashed with Turkey-backed forces in northwestern Syria, the Turkish military said on Wednesday.

Turkish military said on Wednesday that YPG fighters opened fire on jihadist-dominated Free Syrian Army (FSA) while news outlet ANF said Turkey’s affiliates were in Azaz were attacking villages in the Shera district of the Afrin Canton of the de-facto autonomous Democratic Federation of Northern Syria previously known as Rojava.

The United States supports the YPG in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, despite repeated protests from NATO ally Turkey, which sees the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists.

The Turkish army said that YPG machine-gun fire on Tuesday evening targeted Turkey-backed FSA elements in the Maranaz area south of the town of Azaz in northwestern Syria.

“Fire support vehicles in the region were used to retaliate in kind against the harassing fire and the identified targets were destroyed/neutralised,” the military statement said.
The boom of artillery fire could be heard from the nearby Turkish border town of Kilis, broadcaster Haberturk said.

Turkey’s Ihlas news agency had reported earlier that the YPG fighters launched intensive gunfire with heavy machine guns around 9:30 pm (1830 GMT) on Tuesday evening from the Afrin region in northwest Syria. It was not clear whether there were any casualties in the exchange of fire.

Turkey was angered by a US decision last month to arm the YPG as part of the battle for Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. Ankara considers the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

(Reuters/Kom News)