Turkey denies hitting YPG positions in northern Syria
AFP photoTurkish military sources have denied reports that Turkey hit Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions in Tal Abyad across the border on Feb. 27 and 28.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, military sources said neither YPG nor Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positions on the Syrian side of the border have been targeted, refuting Russia’s claims.
Turkey considers the YPG, the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be a terrorist group for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkish artillery had targeted a number of the group’s positions in northern Syria earlier this month.
The Russian military on Feb. 28 claimed that armed groups had attacked Tal Abyad from Turkish territory, adding that it demanded an explanation from the United States.
“Overnight from Feb. 27 to 28, the Russian center for the reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria received information about an attack from Turkish territory on the Syrian town of Tal Abyad by armed units using large-scale artillery,” said the chief of the center, Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko.
ISIL militants launched an assault on Feb. 27 on the town on Syria’s border with Turkey, captured by the YPG from ISIL last year in an offensive backed by U.S.-led air strikes, prompting air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition to try to drive them back.
Coalition warplanes carried out 10 air strikes to try to repel the assault, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. It said at least 45 ISIL militants and 20 Kurdish fighters had been killed.
In an e-mailed statement, the U.S. military said the coalition conducted multiple airstrikes on Feb. 27 near Tal Abyad.