Turkey shells Syrian regime forces, US says stop

In response to incoming fire, Turkish army shells Kurdish forces and regime forces in Syria, even as it considers a ground invasion.

Tags: Turkey Syria
Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 23:39

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters

The Turkish military on Saturday hit targets of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Syrian regime in two separate incidents in response to incoming fire, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

In line with the rules of engagement, the armed forces shelled targets of the PYD around the town of Azaz in Aleppo province, Anatolia said, quoting a military source.

The army also responded to Syrian regime fire on a Turkish military guard post in Turkey's southern Hatay region, it added.

There were no further details on the nature of the Turkish strikes but they likely involved artillery fire from tanks.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also appeared to confirm the strikes against the PYD, without giving precise details.

"Under the framework of the rules of engagement, we responded to forces in Azaz and around that were posing a threat," he said, quoted by Anatolia while on a visit to the eastern city of Erzincan.

Apparently referring to the PYD, he called these forces "a terror group which is a branch of the Syrian regime, collaborationist and is complicit in Russian strikes against civilians."

In response to the shelling, the US pressed Turkey on Saturday to halt military strikes on Kurdish and Syrian regime targets in the northern province of Aleppo.

"We are concerned about the situation north of Aleppo and are working to de-escalate tensions on all sides," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

Kirby added that "we have urged Syrian Kurdish and other forces affiliated with the YPG not to take advantage of a confused situation by seizing new territory. We have also seen reports of artillery fire from the Turkish side of the border and urged Turkey to cease such fires."

"Turkey and the YPG share a serious threat of ISIL poised just to the east of the Azaz corridor," Kirby added, referring to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) group that has seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

"We continue to encourage all parties to focus on this common threat, which has not subsided, and to work toward a cessation of hostilities, as agreed in Munich."

Turkey has indicated it is eyeing a ground invasion in Syria together with the Saudis. Russia has warned that the entry of Arab armies into Syria could spark a "new world war."

AFP contributed to this report.



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