Published: Fri, June 30, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Turkish military 'returns fire' at Kurdish YPG forces

Turkish military 'returns fire' at Kurdish YPG forces

In May, the Pentagon announced that it would provide the YPG/YPJ with weapons as necessary to ensure a victory over ISIS in the battle for Raqqa, the Islamic State "capital".

It was not clear whether there were any casualties in the exchange of fire. Ankara views it as Syrian branch of the PKK, which has been designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the USA and EU.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish army launched on Wednesday airstrikes against the Kurdish People's Protection Unit in northern Syria, in response to the latter's firing at factions from the Free Syrian Army, which is mainly backed by Ankara.

Faced with turmoil across its southern border, Turkey a year ago sent troops into Syria to support Free Syrian Army rebels fighting both ISIL and Kurdish forces, who control a large part of Syria's northern border region.

Turkish leaders including the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have been issuing strongly worded statements in recent days saying Ankara will never allow the formation of a Kurdish state in the north of Syria.

"We side with the territorial integrity of Syria", he added.

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On Thursday, Kurtulmus repeated the Turkish government's criticism of the United States administration and called the arming of the YPG a result of United States "indecision".

The U.S.is convinced that the Kurdish fighters, known as the YPG, are the most effective local force in trying to oust IS militants from their stronghold in Raqqa.

Talking to reporters in Ankara today, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the USA officials would understand that this was the "wrong path". In Brussels, when Işık expressed his frustration with the U.S.'s arming the group, Mattis called arming the PYD "an interim situation triggered by necessity rather than preference", said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Turkish officials hailed the almost seven-month campaign as a success after Turkish-backed Syrian rebels aided by the Turkish military took control of a stretch of territory extending to the town of al-Bab.

Kurtulmus also reiterated Ankara's opposition to the US arming of YPG fighters and said that USA officials would understand that this was the "wrong path".

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