Saturday, February 13, 2016
Turkey bombing Kurdish areas in Aleppo
Turkish forces have begun shelling Kurdish-held areas, including an airbase, in Syria’s Aleppo province, sources had told Al Jazeera on Saturday.
Syrian Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) reported on Saturday that Turkish artillery targeted their positions in Menagh airport and a village near Azaz, which were recently captured from the Syrian opposition.
An Al Jazeera reporter in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the Syria border, said the timing of the attack is "interesting", as it comes at a period when the YPG and their allies have been capturing rebel-held territory, taking advantage of an ongoing government offensive in Aleppo.
"Now, we can only speculate - was this a warning from the Turkish authorities who do not want to see the YPG expand control in Syria?" Khodr said.
"In the past, Turkey has fired shells across its border but usually in retaliation - after a shell lands on Turkish soil, or if fighting is getting closer to its border they fire shells as a deterrent."
The shelling came after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday that Ankara would, if necessary, take military action against fighters from the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
"We can if necessary take the same measures in Syria as we took in Iraq and Qandil," Davutoglu said in a televised speech in the eastern city of Erzincan, referring to the bombing campaign last year against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq on their Qandil mountain stronghold.
"We would expect our friends and allies to stand by us," he added.
Turkey considers the PYD and its YPG militia to be branches of the PKK, which has waged a decades-long armed campaign against the Turkish state.
Source: Al Jazeera