Turkey steps up attacks on Kurdish positions in northern Syria

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

ARA News 

Aleppo – The Turkish military and allied rebel factions on Thursday launched an offensive against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s northern Aleppo Governorate.

Turkish heavy artillery and mortar batteries shelled a line of YPG positions stretching from Tel Rifat to Hassadjek Mountain. A YPG officer told ARA News that at least 12 YPG fighters were killed and more than 20 others were injured.

The Syrian Ministry of Defence issued a statement on Thursday, condemning the shelling and describing it as a “massacre” and “naked aggression.” Damascus went further, threatening to shoot down any Turkish warplane which violated Aleppo’s airspace.

Thursday’s offensive coincided with advances made by the YPG and the pro-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northern countryside of Aleppo. The SDF has been fighting Islamic State (ISIS) militants there for control of the Shahba Reservoir and Hassadjek Mountain.

These advances placed the YPG roughly 15 km from al-Bab city, the Islamic State’s last stronghold in northern Aleppo. Turkey’s barrage was reportedly intended to impede the progress made by the YPG and SDF towards al-Bab.

Turkey-backed rebels participating in the Euphrates Shield Operation have issued several statements, declaring that they would seize al-Bab without Kurdish assistance.

Reporting by: Helin Saeed | Source: ARA News 

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