Turkey attacks YPG positions north Syria, Kurds respond

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Turkish army forces (R), and Kurdish YPG fighters (L). Photo: Jinda Ibrahim/ARA News

ARA News

Tel Abyad – Turkey’s military targeted a headquarters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) near the city of Tel Abyad in northern Syria.

“The Turkish artillery bombed the YPG-held village of Khenitiya in Tel Abyad countryside, targeting a YPG security office,” YPG officer Salih Watti told ARA News.  The attack, which took place in the afternoon on Wednesday, only caused material damage. No casualties were reported.

However, the Kurdish YPG responded to the fire by launching artillery shells at Turkish Army installations near the Syrian border. It was not immediately clear whether the YPG bombardment caused any casualties.

“We stressed earlier that we won’t remain silent towards the Turkish violations on the border. We will respond to any attacks by Turkey’s military,” Watti said.

The Kurdish counter-fire is a major escalation. In the past, the YPG repeated warnings and threats in response to Turkey’s incursions, but they have not acted on them.

On September 28, at least nine civilians were killed and several others wounded in a Turkish artillery attack. The shelling occurred in Kahila, a Kurdish town near the Syrian border city of Tel Abyad.

In a now formulaic statement, the leadership of the Kurdish YPG condemned the Turkish attack. The YPG said that Turkey is targeting Kurdish areas in northern Syria “to undermine the Kurdish progress against ISIS.”

“We’ll not allow Turkey to continue those violations at the border. We are ready to respond and we’ll do whatever it takes in order to stop this offensive against our people,” the YPG leadership said.

Exposed On Two Fronts

This is not the first time Turkey has targeted Syrian Kurds. According to military sources, the Turkish Army has launched more than 22 attacks on Kurdish positions in northern Syria.

The Kurdish YPG and their allies from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), captured the strategic city of Tel Abyad in June 2015. The conquest of Tel Abyad was disconcerting for Islamic State (ISIS) militants due to its location. Tel Abyad is only 90 km from Raqqa –the group’s de facto capital in Syria.

Since ISIS was driven from Tel Abyad, Kurdish positions have been exposed on two fronts. The YPG has to guard against Turkey’s military on one hand, and ISIS on the other.

Speaking to ARA News, YPG officer Habun Osman accused the Turkish government of supporting ISIS in their campaign to retake Tel Abyad. Osman believes that the Turkish government desires “to assist the terror group [and] export its oil to the black market via Turkey.”

“Before the YPG-SDF retook Tel Abyad from ISIS in early 2015, the terror group used to export its oil tankers through this border crossing to the black market,” Osman said. “When ISIS was in control here, Turkey never attacked the group’s positions. Now that Tel Abyad is under Kurdish control, the Turkish Army continues to attack the area.”

Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh | Source: ARA News

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