Posted on September 8, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Kurdistan
A Turkish army tank in Karkamus, near the border with Syria. Photo: EPA
AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan,— Turkish army shelling killed six members of the Kurdish security forces in Syrian Kurdistan, an area of northwestern Syria controlled by Kurdish groups, overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The Kurdish Afrin region of northwestern Syria is controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia which holds swathes of northern Syria.
Turkey has launched anincursion into northern Syria on August 24, in an area some 100 km (60 miles) east of Afrin to stop the US-backed Kurdish YPG forces from extending areas under their control and connecting Syrian Kurdistan’s Kobani and Hassaka in the east with Afrin canton in the west.
A statement issued by the Kurdish authorities in Afrin said the attack was a provocation by the Turkish army to “ignite the fire of war”. “We will carry out the appropriate response … if these type of attacks are repeated,” the statement said.
The People’s Protection Units YPG said on Tuesday the Turkish army continued attacks on Kurdish forces in Rojava [Kurdish-held areas of Syria] and opened intense fire with heavy weapons on Koreli village west of Kobani on Tuesday night.
Turkey is concerned that further consolidation of Kurdish influence in northern Syria could fuel separatist sentiment among its own Kurdish minority. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has fought a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in Turkish Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey).
Syrian Kurds have established three autonomous zones, or Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan (northern Syria) in 2013. On March 17, 2016 Syria’s Kurds declared a federal region in Syrian Kurdistan.
Washington regards the Kurdish YPG as key ally against Islamic State and the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and has provided them with air support as well as the military advisers. The Kurdish militia has seized swathes of Syria from Islamic State.
The Syrian pro-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of YPG, has criticized the U.S. for Turkey incursion in northern Syria.