Turkey denies bombing of Syrian Kurdish village

A Turkish Air Force C-160D Transall transport aircraft takes off from Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, July 26, 2015. (Reuters)

Turkey did not bomb Kurdish YPG positions in a village in northern Syria, a Turkish foreign ministry official said on Monday, denying a claim by the militia group that its positions had been shelled.

The YPG earlier said the Turkish army shelled its positions in a village on the outskirts of the ISIS-held border town of Jarablus and urged Ankara to halt attacks on its forces.

A Turkish government official told AFP earlier on Monday that the Turkish military are not targeting Syrian Kurds.

“The ongoing military operation seeks to neutralize imminent threats to Turkey's national security and continues to target ISIS in Syria and the PKK in Iraq,” the official told AFP, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

He said the Syrian Kurdish “PYG, along with others, remains outside the scope of the current military effort.”

In a statement, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) said Turkish tanks hit its positions and those of allied Arab rebels in the village of Zur Maghar in Aleppo province.

“It is an aggression that should be stopped,” it said.

The “heavy tank fire” wounded four members of the allied rebel force and several villagers, the YPG said.

It said there was a second, later round of shelling against Zur Maghar and another village in the same area.

The Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said: “We are investigating claims that the Turkish military engaged positions held by forces other than ISIS.”

Turkey has launched a two-pronged “anti-terror” cross-border offensive against jihadists and the PKK militants after a wave of violence in the country, pounding their positions with air strikes and artillery.

Early on Monday, Turkish police detained 15 people with suspected links to the ISIS in the Hacibayram district of the capital Ankara, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Eleven of the 15 detainees were foreigners, Anatolia said, adding that the operation was backed by around 500 police officers who raided several addresses.

The Turkish official told AFP the operations against IS and PKK were continuing, adding that a total of 900 people had been detained so far with links to the IS, PKK and other leftist organizations.

“We are fighting against all terrorist organizations,” said the official.

In a separate development, the Turkish lira fell below 2.76 to the dollar on Monday, its lowest since June 9, with traders citing security concerns.

‘Situation in the Mideast’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iraq, and better cooperation in fighting ISIS, the Kremlin said late on Sunday.

During a telephone conversation, both sides stressed that all interested states should boost efforts to successfully combat the spread of terrorism and extremism, the Kremlin said in a statement.

NATO called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss security at the request of Turkey after a recent suicide bombing there and to discuss Turkish operations against ISIS and PKK Kurdish militants.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:56 - GMT 10:56
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