Turkish figures of attacks from Syria are puzzling - BBC

Turkish claims that some 700 attacks from Syria by Kurdish militants justified its military incursion on grounds of self defence have been questioned by the BBC.

In early February, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın, said more than 700 attacks had been launched from the Afrin area under PYD/YPG [the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units] control against Turkish cities over the past year alone".

Kalin’s opinion piece, which included that claim, came right after Turkey launched a military offense in Afrin, a Kurdish enclave in northwest Syria, aiming to cleanse the area of Kurdish militants allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade war inside Turkey. Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces took control of Afrin on March 18. 

However, the number of incidents publicly reported totalled 26 in the period, 15 of which came from Afrin, according to the BBC’s reality check survey, which uses multiple sources including Turkish army reports, the semi-official Anadolu news agency, the private Dogan news agency, and liveuamap.com - a website that gathers social media posts from conflict zones.

A Turkish military source told the BBC to refer to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to access the records of the alleged 700 incidents and added that ‘not all but most’ of the incidents are made public.

When contacted again, the same source said that the 700 incidents were ‘harassment fires’; i.e. "anything that does not directly target Turkey, but is felt as a side-effect of an ongoing incident or clashes in Syria”.

However, the MFA’s records show 90 attacks in the same area and over the same period and according to the MFA the attacks define incidents that “directly target Turkey”