ISTANBUL (AP) — The Turkish army shelled on Sunday positions held by the U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria, east of the Euphrates River, in a new spike in tension along the borders. Ankara considers the U.S.-backed Kurdish militia an extension of its own insurgent groups, which it refers to as "terrorists and separatists," and sent its military into Syria two years ago to drive the group and Islamic State militants away from its borders in northwestern Syria. Recently, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to expand the military operations to clear the borders from "terror."
Turkey strikes Kurdish positions East of Euphrates in northern Syria
The Turkish Armed Forces struck People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets in northern Syria east of the Euphrates River on Sunday, Associated Press reported.
Artillery strikes hit positions belonging to the YPG in Zor Moghar, the agency said, detailing that the village in northern Aleppo’s countryside is across the Euphrates that separates Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces and the YPG, which Ankara says is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group that has been in war in Turkey for over 30 years, and considers a terror organization.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Kurdish Hawar news agency has also reported the shelling, with no reference to casualties.
The attack follows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s repeated warnings of expanding military operations along the Syrian border to clear it of “terror,” referring to Kurdish militants.
Washington and Ankara do not agree on the YPG, which forms the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition which is fighting against the Islamic State in the region.