At least 18 Kurdish YPG members killed in Turkish air strikes in Syria
QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan,— Turkish warplanes conducted a barrage of air strikes on US-ally Kurdish positions in Syrian Kurdistan (northeast Syria) early Tuesday, leaving several fighters dead, Kurdish forces and a monitor said.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said the strikes hit their positions near the Syrian border town of Al-Malikiyah at 2:00 am Tuesday (2300 GMT Monday).
“Turkish planes carried out a broad offensive on a YPG base that houses media and communication centres and some military installations,” the YPG statement said.
“The treacherous attack killed and wounded fighters,” it added, without giving a toll.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the toll in Turkish air strikes on Kurdish forces in northeast Syria early Tuesday rose to 18 people dead,
“The dead are fighters and media officials from the People’s Protection Units (YPG),” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman, who had earlier reported a toll of three people in the dawn raids.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkey carried out “dozens of simultaneous air strikes” on YPG positions in Hasakeh province overnight, confirming that a media centre was hit.
“Three YPG members working in the media centre were killed,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
According to Abdel Rahman, the strikes were the first Turkish air raids in Syria since it completed an unprecedented military campaign there in March.
Turkey launched the operation in August 2016 to fight the Islamic State group but mostly focused to keep the Kurdish YPG in check.
It considers the YPG to be a “terrorist” group because of its ties to outlawed Kurdish militia in southeast Turkey.
Turkey fears the creation of an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria that will not be loyal to Ankara — would spur the separatist ambitions of Turkey’s own Kurds.
Turkey is dreaming of and doing every possible to create a system in northern Syria identical to the Turkey-loyal Iraqi Kurdistan Region, analysts say.
Ankara supported rebels fighting IS jihadists, but also carried out air strikes on the YPG and the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which are YPG-dominated.
U.S regards the Kurdish PYD and its powerful military wing YPG which is part of SDF, as key ally against Islamic State and the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and has provided them with arms, air support as well as the military advisers. The Kurdish militia has seized swathes of Syria from IS.
SDF fighters on Monday entered the key IS-held town of Tabqa, on the Euphrates River, as they closed in on the jihadist group’s de facto capital Raqa.
The SDF said it had captured IS-held positions in west Tabqa, including a roundabout, and part of a southern district.
Syrian Kurdistan’s ruling PYD has established three autonomous zones, or Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan in 2013.
On March 17, 2016 Syria’s Kurds declared a federal region in Syrian Kurdistan.
30, 2016 Syrian Kurds approved a blueprint for a system of federal government in Syrian Kurdistan, reaffirming their plans for autonomy in areas they have controlled during the civil war.
Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP | Ekurd.net
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