Turkey warns Kurds of more strikes

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TURKEY has warned that it will carry out more strikes on a US-backed Kur­dish mili­tia in Syria if it fails to re­treat, as Wash­ing­ton said Pres­i­dent Barack Obama will meet his Turk­ish coun­ter­part dur­ing the G20 sum­mit in China over the week­end.

Turk­ish forces pressed on with a two-pronged op­er­a­tion in­side Syria against Is­lamic State (IS) ji­hadists and the Syr­ian Kur­dish Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG), shelling over a dozen tar­gets.

The strikes against the YPG are hugely sen­si­tive as the out­fit – seen as a ter­ror group by Ankara – is al­lied with Turkey’s NATO part­ner the US in the fight against IS in Syria.

Ankara has said it killed 25 Kur­dish “ter­ror­ists” in strikes on YPG po­si­tions on Au­gust 28 – mean­ing the two USbacked part­ners are now fight­ing each other.

Pen­tagon spokesper­son Peter Cook said the clashes were “a source of deep con­cern as in­no­cent peo­ple were caught in the mid­dle”.

He called for steps to de-es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion and said Wash­ing­ton had once again told the YPG to re­treat east of the Euphrates. This has “largely oc­curred”, he added.

Turkey’s op­er­a­tion aims to push the YPG back across the Euphrates to pre­vent it join­ing up a re­gion east of the river al­ready un­der its con­trol with a Kur­dish-held area to the west.

Ankara fears the emer­gence of an au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish re­gion in Syria would bol­ster Kur­dish rebels across the bor­der in south­east­ern Turkey.

The sit­u­a­tion in north­ern Syria is yet an­other com­pli­ca­tion in the coun­try’s al­ready tan­gled civil war, and po­ten­tially throws a wrench in US plans to de­feat the Is­lamic State group in the re­gion.

Turkey con­sid­ers the YPG an off­shoot of the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly in­sur­gency on Turk­ish ter­ri­tory for over three decades. –

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