Turkey shells Kurdish-held areas of Syria’s Aleppo: Monitor

Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its YPG militia to be branches of the PKK which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state (File Photo: Reuters)

Turkey’s military has shelled Kurdish militia targets near the town of Azaz in northern Syria, a Turkish government source told Reuters on Saturday, without elaborating on the extent of the shelling or why it had been carried out.

“The Turkish Armed Forces fired shells at PYD positions in the Azaz area,” the source said, referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the shelling had targeted a Syrian air base and a village captured from insurgents in recent days by the YPG militia, which is backed by the PYD.

A Kurdish official confirmed the shelling of northern Aleppo’s Menagh air base, which he said had been captured by the Kurdish-allied Jaysh al-Thuwwar group rather than the YPG. Both are part of the Syria Democratic Forces alliance.

News of the shelling came after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday Turkey would not hesitate to act in Syria if it faced a threat from Syrian Kurdish forces.

His comments reflected Ankara’s growing frustration with United States backing for the PYD, which controls most of the Syrian side of the border with Turkey and which Ankara views as tied to militants fighting an insurgency in southeast Turkey.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47