Clashes between Turkish army, Kurdish forces in Syria as Ankara deploys military to border - report

Clashes between the Turkish army and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northeastern city of Qamishli have erupted on Saturday, Iranian Fars News Agency reported, citing pro-Syrian rebel Step News.

Turkish Army shelled SDF military points in Qamishli and near the border with Turkey while two military points of the Turkish Army were destroyed, three Turkish soldiers were killed and four others were injured during two separate military offensives by the SDF, according to Fars News Agency.

Ankara views the Kurdish-dominated autonomous administrations and militias that control the border region as extensions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed group that has fought for Kurdish autonomy for decades and is listed as a terrorist organisation by both Turkey and the United States.

Clashes coincide with Turkey's deployment of additional equipment near Syrian border including heavy weapons, armoured vehicles and tanks, signalling the start of a possible assault on the Kurdish forces as talks on a safe zone in northern Syria along Turkey's border falters.

However, the Syrian Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) and its multi-ethnic affiliate the SDF have played a crucial role in the international coalition against the Islamic State, and U.S. officials wish to find a solution that will protect their allies.