Turkish soldier killed in Syria attack
TURKEY has said the military suffered its first fatality in an unprecedented four-day campaign inside Syria, blaming Kurdish militia in an increasingly combustible contest for control in the border region.
The Turkish army on August 24 launched the two-pronged cross border offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists but also Syrian Kurdish militia detested by Ankara, sending in dozens of tanks and troops.
Tensions between Ankara and the Kurdish militia flared on August 27, with clashes taking place 8 kilometres (5 miles) south of the town of Jarabulus, the border town recaptured from the IS by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, a monitoring group said.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said one soldier was killed and three more wounded in a rocket attack by Kurdish militia on two tanks taking part in the offensive.
The rocket fire came from members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Anadolu said. Turkey considers the PYD and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia to be terror organisations.
Pro-Kurdish fighters said Turkey had for the first time carried out air strikes on its positions.
“With this latest aggression, a new conflict period will begin in the region,” said the Jarabulus Military Council, which is linked to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The fighting indicates Turkey is entering into a new and more dangerous phase in Syria four days into operation “Euphrates Shield”.
Turkey fiercely opposes moves by the YPG – which it regards as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – to expand into territory lost by the IS. –