Turkey shells Kurdish positions in northern Syria - agency

Turkish forces fired mortar shells at U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces in the northwestern Syrian province of Afrin on Saturday, the Turkish service of Russian news outlet Sputnik’s said.

The attack started around noon and hit the districts of Bosoufane, Cindirese, Deir Bellout and Rajo in Afrin. At least 36 shells were fired from inside Turkish border, it said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier on Saturday that Turkish forces would “destroy terrorists in Afrin if they won’t surrender”.

Turkish leaders have ramped up criticism of Washington over U.S. military support to Syrian Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State in northern Syria.

Turkey considers the Kurdish militia in Syria a threat to its borders and accuses it of helping Kurdish insurgent groups in Turkey, such as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Both Turkey and the United States designate PKK as a terrorist organisation.