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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Turkish Military Shells Kurdish Militia Sites in Northern Syria

Turkey's military shelled Kurdish militia targets in northern Syria on Saturday, a Turkish government source and a monitor group said, hours after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that Ankara would act if it faced a threat from across the border.

The shelling took place north of the city of Aleppo after Kurdish fighters, backed by Russian bombing raids, drove Syrian rebels from a former military air base near the Turkish border.

"The Turkish Armed Forces fired shells at PYD positions in the Azaz area," the source said, referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors Syria's war, said the shelling had targeted the air base and a village captured from insurgents by the PYD-backed YPG militia.

Turkey considers the PYD and YPG to be branches of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the country.

A Kurdish official confirmed shelling had taken place at the Menagh air base, which he said had been captured by the Kurdish-allied Jaysh al-Thuwwar group rather than the YPG. Both are part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance.

The shelling took place amid growing anger in Ankara with U.S. backing for the PYD in its fight against Islamic State militants.

The PYD is in control of most of the Syrian side of Turkey's border, and nearby bases in Iraq's Qandil Mountains have been bombed repeatedly by the Turkish military...
 voanews.com
13/2/16

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