Turkish military retaliates to PYD fire in northern Syria
Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
AA photoThe Turkish military has continued to shell the positions of Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria for the fourth day, stating that it was retaliating to fire coming from the region.
Fire was opened from PYD positions in northern Syria on the morning of Feb. 16, after which Turkish artillery units deployed near the Akçabağlar village in Kilis province began to shell the region at around 10 a.m.
The sound of the shelling was also heard from the city center.
Security measures have also been stepped up across the border.
Turkey’s army over the weekend shelled People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets, the military wing of the PYD, which Ankara has dubbed as a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), after the group seized an air base north of Aleppo.
Daily Hürriyet has learned that 400 artillery shots were fired from the Turkish side across the border since the launch of the shelling on Feb. 13. Some 50 of these were aimed at the Syrian regime forces of President Bashar al-Assad and around 350 were fired at PYD targets.
Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said that although shelling was being conducted around the Menagh airbase in northern Syria, they were not deliberately aiming at the airport lane itself, as it is likely to be used for humanitarian aid to the region in the near future. But if there are airstrikes carried out from this airbase targeting civilians then the Turkish government ordered the military forces to shell the airbase.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has expressed unease over France’s reaction to the Turkish military’s intervention against the PYD, diplomatic sources said on Feb. 16.
Çavuşoğlu expressed this dissatisfaction to France’s new foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, in a phone conversation on Feb. 15. The French Foreign Ministry had called on Turkey to halt its shelling of PYD positions in a statement over the weekend.