Kurdish-aligned group in Syria accuses Turkey of strikes | News | DW | 27.08.2016
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Kurdish-aligned group in Syria accuses Turkey of strikes

Turkish forces have struck civilian homes and positions held by a Kurdish group allied to the Syrian Democratic Forces, the group said. The SDF is being supported by the US-led anti-"Islamic State" coalition.

A military council linked to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Saturday that Turkish air and artillery attacks on the village of Amarna had caused civilian casualties and called it "a dangerous escalation that threatens the fate of the region."

Turkey has not commented on the claim, but Reuters reporters said they saw Turkish warplanes flying sorties into Syria early Saturday which hit Kurdish targets.

"We confirm our ability to defend ourselves," the self-styled Jarablus Military Council said but added its forces would not move towards the Turkish border in order to give a pretext for more attacks.

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is allied to Turkey's enemy, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), confirmed the attack but did not report casualties.

Kurdish groups in Syria accuse Turkey of singling out its fighters which Ankara views with suspicion due to its ties to Turkey's Kurdish insurgency. Turkey's military campaign "Euphrates Shield" effectively creates a barrier of tanks and troops dividing territorial gains made by Syria's Kurds.

Turkey gambles on "Euphrates Shield"

But Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denounced as a "bare-faced lie" suggestions that its military was targeting Kurds rather than "Islamic State" (IS).

Türkei Offensive gegen IS in Syrien

Turkey launched operation "Euphrates Shield" inside Syria on August 25, 2016, to oust IS from the border region

"Our soldiers' mission is to ensure our border security and the life and property of our citizens," Yildirim said Friday. "The news apart from that is just a lie."

The civil war in Syria has seen the Kurds, the region's stateless minority, emerge as a powerful force and key ally in the US-led coalition against IS.

But Turkey views the PYD as no more than the PKK in Syria and is angered by Washington's military cooperation with the group. Turkey views Kurdish nationalist aspirations as a threat to its territorial integrity and is engaged in a bloody battle with the PKK in the southeast.

Amarna village is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Jarablus, which Turkey seized from retreating IS fighters earlier this week.

jar/jlw (AP, Reuters)

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