Kurds ask U.S. to clarify its approach regarding Turkish aggression

By Updated at 2015-08-01 20:28:53 +0000


West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) - Kurds ask U.S. to clarify its approach regarding Turkish aggression.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) is an important force for the United State-led alliance against Islamic State -ISIS- because it has been the ONLY notable partner on the ground working with the coalition.

On July 24, Turkish tanks bombarded a position used by YPG group in Zor Maghar village west of Kobani, wounding four rebels and a number of civilians, the group said.

The senior Turkish official said YPG has not been targeted but the army would respond to any attacks. "If they fire at us, we fire back. We are not in a position to ask for identification in such a situation," the official said.

YPG said in another incident the Turkish army fired on a YPG vehicle in Tel Fender village, west of Tal Abyad, a town close to one of the border crossings.

Turkey began a campaign of air strikes on PKK camps in northern Iraq and ISIS fighters in Syria last Friday, in what Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called a "synchronized fight against terror".

The campaign has raised suspicions among Kurds that Ankara's real agenda is checking Kurdish territorial ambitions rather than fighting Islamic State.

The president of Iraq's Kurdistan region condemned Turkey's bombardment of a village there which he said had killed civilians, and called for a return to the peace process between Ankara and the PKK.

The Syrian Kurdish YPG said in a statement on its website that it came under cross-border fire on four occasions in the past week and described sightings of Turkish jets over northern Syria.

The militia, which regularly coordinates with U.S.-led air forces bombing Islamic State, said it had nothing to do with conflict between the PKK and Turkey.

"We consider recent movements of the Turkish military as provocative and hostile actions,"..

"These provocative actions will have negative consequences if they continue, and Turkey's government will be held accountable for the results," the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) said in a statement.

"We ask our partners in the US-led international coalition against ISIS to clarify their approach towards these actions of the Turkish military," the statement said, using a common abbreviation for the Islamist extremist group.

Pentagon spokeswoman Laura Seal said they had seen reports of the attacks on the YPG.

"We note that the Government of Turkey has clarified that its military action is directed solely at ISIL inside Syria, and, in response to PKK attacks in Turkey, against PKK encampments in Northern Iraq," she said in a statement.

Seal said the United States supports various groups fighting Islamic State "while also encouraging them to respect the multi-ethnic makeup of areas they have cleared from ISIL."

Facts: Turks Want Their Own Military To Intervene On Syrian Soil, Against The Kurdish Fighters- YPG


The YPG separately announced it had ousted Islamic State from the north-eastern Syrian city of al-Hassakeh. Syrian government forces appeared to have also been involved in fighting the militants.

Analysts speculated that the PKK would not immediately withdraw from northern Iraq, noting that Barzani's party in the past has implied a similar demand. The tensions are squeezing the Iraqi Kurdistan government, an ally of both Turkey and the United States.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said about 260 PKK fighters have been killed in the airstrikes, citing unnamed security sources. The information could not be verified, and the Turkish government has not formally released any data. The PKK said it has lost several fighters.

Turkey launched airstrikes against the PKK, a sister organization of the YPG, last week as a ceasefire with the Turkey-focused armed group collapsed after largely holding for more than two years.

Since then, attacks by the PKK in Turkey have risen. Most have targeted the police and military. On Saturday, Turkey's military announced the latest death, saying a soldier was killed by a landmine.

A peace process between the government and PKK had been showing signs of faltering for months, but a suicide bombing that killed 32 people at a pro-Kurdish gathering July 20 in southern Turkey acting as a catalyst for the unraveling of the ceasefire.

The conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK has claimed about 40,000 lives over three decades. The PKK began as a separatist group but has moderated its demands to achieving some autonomy and greater rights for the Kurdish minority in Turkey.

Turkey's prosecutors have also begun to go after the mainstream Kurdish party in the country, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), opening criminal investigations against its top two leaders while accusing them of promoting violence and supporting the YPG.

dpa, Reuters