Published: Wed, May 03, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Kurds and Turks trade fire on Syria border


Ankara accuses the YPG of being a "terrorist group" due to its links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been engaged in a three decade war with Turkey.

Airstrikes launched by Turkish warplanes on Tuesday that killed U.S. Kurdish allies in Iraq and Syria were described as "unsafe", according to Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve.

The U.S. -provided weapons, which the source said included ammunition, anti-tank rockets and assault rifles as well as explosives, had passed into Turkey from Sinjar in northern Iraq and Syria's Karacok region.

"Turkey conducted airstrikes in northern Syria's Hasakah province the night before last, resulting in the loss of life of our partnered forces in the fight against ISIS", Dorrian said.

Following the strikes by Turkish warplanes, the US military dispatched troops to the scene in Syria to conduct a damage assessment and to check on its partner forces. He said it was done more as a "notification as opposed to coordination". Turkey has objected to that alliance because, it says, the SDF's largest component, the People's Protection Units (YPG), is a PKK affiliate.

Turkey is once again proving itself a loyal friend, neighbor, and ally by attacking the Kurdish forces which are part of the US-backed coalition fighting in Syria.

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"These are forces that have been integral in fighting ISIS".

USA forces operating in northeastern Syria are working in a very large "operations box", Dorrian explained, and need adequate coordination and notification of impending operations in the region to ensure their safety.

The Turkish government also stated it will "continue its fight against terrorism of all kinds" and the highlighted that "terrorist elements can not be legitimate partners in the fight against terrorism". "We've seen them fight ISIS".

"We made very clear to the Turkish government at very high levels our deep concern about the actions they took the other day", Toner said. He was seen briefing the USA commanders with the help of an interpreter during the tour.

"We're troubled by that", Dorrian said. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said both the USA and Russian Federation had ample warning. The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces said "40 members of a separatist terrorist organization were neutralized in Iraq and 30 in Syria". "It is necessary to demonstrate due political foresight and focus attention on a most important for today task - countering worldwide terrorism represented by Islamic State, (Jabhat al) Nusra and other affiliated groups", the ministry said.

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