Turkey says 11 Syrian Kurds killed in border clash

Elias Hubbard
May 14, 2017

US troops were seen Saturday in armored vehicles in Kurdish areas in Syria in a show of force apparently meant to dissuade Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces from attacking one another.

"Coalition forces are conducting joint patrols along the northeastern Syria-Turkey border to assess reports from both the SDF and Turkey regarding skirmishes and cross-border fires between their respective security forces", the statement said, referring to USA -allied Syrian Democratic Forces.

A USA military commander (R) walks with a commander (C) from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as they inspect the damage at YPG headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria.

Erdogan also told reporters that Ankara is concerned by the photos showing United States soldiers attending the funeral of YPG fighters who were killed by Turkish airstrikes in northern Syria last week.

The military said the YPG has targeted Turkish border posts from Afrin and Tal Abyad, areas held by the group in northern Syria. However, the USA has called the PYD a key ally in the fight against Daesh in Syria.

"The huge America, the coalition and Turkey can join hands and turn Raqa into a graveyard for Daesh", Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an Istanbul meeting, using an alternative name for the IS group.

Uzumcu, who was speaking a day before the OPCW's 20th anniversary, said his organization has received reports of 45 possible chemical weapons attacks in Syria since 2016. "But they will know that the Turkish military can come at any moment", Erdoğan said.

"We regret the unintentional loss of civilian lives ... and express our deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by these strikes", the Pentagon said in the statement. He said that the current U.S. deployment was temporary but did not rule out a possibility of it becoming permanent. We have told the U.S. that if Turkey attacks our troops once again we will pull out of the Raqqa operation and deploy all of our forces to the border.

But for the United States, the YPG is essential in the fight against IS jihadists.

The Turkish army has claimed it has killed 11 "terrorists" during cross-border clashes with Syrian Kurdish fighters.

The US backed the formation of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by the YPG but also including Arab fighters, yet Ankara contends it is merely a front from the Kurdish group. Kurdish officials described USA troop movements as a "buffer" between them and Turkey.

The escalation of force between Ankara and the YPG could complicate the operation to liberate Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria.

Khalil said his forces are not building up in the area and added that the worldwide coalition is now "monitoring" the border. "We will be forced to continue [our offensives]".

The Turkish military launched air strikes against targets in the three self-governing cantons of Rojava this week, and have followed up with artillery and tank assaults.

Kurds reacted immediately. According to France Press News Agency they called on the global coalition to stop Turkey's air strikes against them.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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