Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. File photo
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ISTANBUL – Turkish military had twice struck locations of the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a press statement.
According to Davutoglu, the move comes after the YPG defied Ankara’s warning not to cross west of the Euphrates river.
Turkish authorities have repeatedly expressed concerns about the Kurdish forces advancing on the Syrian side of its 900 km (560-mile) border, which will, according to Turkish government fuel separatist ambitions among Turkey’s own Kurds, southeastern the country.
Washington has supported Syrian Kurds as an effective force combating radicals of the Islamic State (ISIS), embarrassing long-term ally and fellow NATO member Turkey.
“We have said PYD (alleged political leadership of the YPG) will not cross west of the Euphrates, we will hit them the moment they do, and we have struck them twice,” Davutoglu said, without providing any further details on the operations.
Ankara had warned the U.S. and Russia earlier this month that it would not tolerate any Kurdish militias’ presence in the northwestern areas of Syria on its border.
Over the past few days, the YPG Kurdish forces revealed that the Turkish army had twice attacked its positions near the border cities of Tel Abyad (Gire Spi) and Kobane.
In June, the YPG forces ــbacked by U.S.-led airstrikesــ regained control of the key city of Tel Abyad near the Turkish border. Last week, a local council in the city declared it part of the Auto-Administration established by the Kurds in northern Syria.
“It seems that the Turkish state is trying to provoke our units (YPG) to respond in a bid to justify its military intervention in our region,” a YPG official told ARA News in Tel Abyad.
“The Turkish authorities are highly concerned about our continuous progress against ISIS terrorists, and they are trying to stop us under the pretext that we are merely fighting for the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish state on their border.”
Kurds have established three autonomous “cantons” in northern Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011. They deny aiming to establish their own state.
Reporting by: Egid Yousef
Source: ARA News