27 Jul 2015

Turkey accused of shelling Kurds in Syria

Turkey denies claims it shelled Kurdish fighter positions in a village in northern Syria, as Ankara continues its campaign against so-called Islamic State and Kurdish militants.

Members of the Kurdish YPG claimed on Monday that Turkey had bombed a village on the outskirts of the Isis-held Syrian border town of Jarabulus.

Turkey began a dramatic intervention into the battle against Isis at the end of last week, allowing the US to use its bases to conduct airstrikes, and launching its own attacks against Isis positions in Syria.

The Turkish government also launched attacks in Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which it describes as a separatist organisation.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Turkey has released images of its airstrikes against targets in Syria on Friday, which marked its first involvement in the coalition air campaign against Islamic State. Turkish fighter aircraft attacked IS targets ins Syria, and the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) – which Ankara describes as a separatist organisation – in northern Iraq.

Posted by Channel 4 News on Saturday, 25 July 2015

However, targeting the YPG in Syria would be a different matter.

The YPG has been fighting Isis along the Turkish border, including in Kobani where Isis were repelled with the support of coalition airstrikes.

A Turkish foreign ministry official denied on Monday that bombing of Kurdish positions in northern Syria had taken place. A government official has said that the claim is being investigated.

“The ongoing military operation seeks to neutralise imminent threats to Turkey’s national security and continues to target Islamic State in Syria and the PKK in Iraq,” the official said.

“The PYD (the political wing of the YPG), along with others, remains outside the scope of the current military effort.”

Meanwhile, the YPG said on Monday it had captured a town from Isis in northern Syria which was being used as a “launchpad” for attacks on Kobani. US-led airstrikes assisted in the victory, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Turkey’s air strikes on in northern Iraq come despite negotiations with the rebels that were launched in 2012 to end a 30-year insurgency. The PKK has said the military action has rendered the peace process meaningless.

Pro-Kurdish protesters clash with police in Cizre, in Turkey’s southeast, following the funeral of a protester killed in demonstrations against military strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in northern Iraq.

Turkey’s aerial campaign across its border has been accompanied by a domestic campaign of arrests of suspected Isis and PKK militants.

More arrest were made in early morning raids on Monday, local media said, bringing the total number of arrests over the past week to more than 800.

Nato will meet on Tuesday, at the request of Turkey, to discuss how it is tackling the security situation.