Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces gather in the town of al-Hawl on the Syrian-Iraqi border after regaining the key town from ISIS militants. Photo: ARA News
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HASAKAH – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said that the Turkish army on Monday shelled their SDF positions with heavy artillery.
Backed by the US-led coalition, the Kurdish-Arab SDF alliance is deemed the main force fighting the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) in northern Syria.
“The Turkish state officially supports Daesh and bombs the positions of the Manbij military council and its countryside in the northern axis of the defence positions at Sajur river,” SDF spokesperson Sharvan Darwish said on Monday.
The pro-Turkish government newspaper Daily Sabah claimed that Turkey hit both ISIS and ‘PYD targets’ –in reference to Kurdish forces– in northern Manbij.
The SDF forces have recently established a military council for the ISIS-held city of Jarabulus in northern Syria and advanced around 10 kilometers from Jarabulus city on the border with Turkey.
Media reports suggest Turkey is preparing Syrian rebel forces to cross the border to take the city of Jarabulus.
“We in the military council of Jarabulus warn the Turkish government for its aggressive actions. We stress we will not stand idle towards such hostile acts,” the Jarabulus Military Council said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday said that ISIS should be completely removed from the Turkish border, after an ISIS attack killed at least 54 people at a Kurdish wedding in the town of Gaziantep southern Turkey.
Speaking to ARA News, Nicholas Heras, a Washington-based Middle East researcher at the Centre for a New American Security, said that Turkey wants to prevent SDF advances against ISIS.
“Turkey has a vested interest in making sure that the SDF remains aware that nothing is sustainable in northern Syria without the Turks’ longterm buy-in,” he said.
“This is their way of signaling that, without forcing Turkey to invest in a ground campaign in Syria,” Heras added.
Last year in October and July Turkey also prevented Kurdish and FSA forces from crossing the Euphrates River, hitting them with artillery and tanks.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News