Turkey shells YPG targets in northern Syria in retaliation

Turkey shells YPG targets in northern Syria in retaliation

Turkey shells YPG targets in northern Syria in retaliation

File photo

Turkish artillery on Feb. 13 bombarded People's Protection Units (YPG) targets in northern Syria, Turkish security sources have told private broadcaster CNNTürk.

The targets hit were near the town of Azaz in northern Syria, a Turkish government source told Reuters, without elaborating on the extent of the shelling or why it had been carried out. 

According to the sources, the Turkish military retaliated twice on Feb. 13 within its rules of engagement.

The first incident occurred around 3 p.m., when Syrian regime forces fired mortar shells near the Çalıboğazı post in the border province of Hatay. The Turkish Armed Forces retaliated to the shelling.

In the second incident, gunfire from the YPG-controlled Maranas, located in the southwest of Azez, targeted Turkey’s Akçağbağlar region. 

The Turkish military retaliated for two hours within the rules of engagement, sources said.

“The Turkish Armed Forces fired shells at PYD positions in the Azaz area,” a government official told Reuters, referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization. 

The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD and is also considered a terror group by Turkey, which says both are extensions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP that Turkish shelling struck areas of Aleppo, including Minnigh, recently taken by the YPG forces from Islamist rebels.

A YPG source told AFP that the Turkish shelling targeted the strategic Minnigh military airport, which Kurdish forces retook on Feb. 10.

The shelling came shortly after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Ankara would, if necessary, take military action against the PYD.

"We can if necessary take the same measures in Syria as we took in Iraq and Kandil," Davutoğlu said in a televised speech.

He was referring to the bombing campaign last year against PKK targets in northern Iraq on their Kandil mountain stronghold.

Abdel Rahman said the Minnigh base lies between two key roads leading from Aleppo city to Azaz to the north.

Syrian government forces lost control of Minnigh air base in August 2013, two years after the start of the conflict in Syria that has now killed more than 260,000 people and displaced millions.