Turkish military launches ‘61 artillery strikes in northern Syria in 24 hours’
Turkish army tanks and Turkish-backed Syrian fighters make their way in the Syrian border town of Jarablus as it is pictured from the Turkish town of Karkamis, in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 24, 2016. REUTERS photoThe Turkish Armed Forces have carried out 61 artillery strikes around the northern Syrian town of Jarablus over the past 24 hours, hitting 20 targets, Turkey’s military announced on Aug. 29.
The military said in a statement that it was “taking all measures and showing maximum sensitivity” to prevent harm to civilians, while adding that it had also hit Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq.
Turkey-backed forces pushed deeper into northern Syria on Aug. 29, drawing a rebuke from NATO ally the United States.
The Turkish military is backing the Syrian rebel groups against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), while also targeting the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed winged of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Militants supported by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, dominated by the YPG, said they would withdraw south after a Turkish push into Syria from the town of Jarablus which rebels captured last week from ISIL.
“We, the military council of Jarablus and its countryside, announce the withdrawal of our forces to the line south of the Sajour River to preserve the lives of civilians and so that no pretext remains for continued strikes on villages and civilians," an online statement from the SDF’s military council said. The Turkey-backed rebels have taken a string of villages south of Jarablus over the past few days after fighting SDF-aligned forces.
A spokesman for the Kurdish group said on Aug. 29 that that local military forces in the Syrian cities of Manbij and Jarablus were being reinforced, but not by the YPG.
Turkey also carried out an air operation on Aug. 29 against outlawed PKK targets in the Gara region of northern Iraq, military sources stated, adding that the damage inflicted in the operation was not immediately clear.