US urges Turkey, YPG to step back
ISTANBULU.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby has urged both Turkey and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to step back and to focus on tackling the “common threat” of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), after the Turkish artillery bombarded YPG targets in northern Syria on Feb. 13.
“We have urged Syrian Kurdish and other forces affiliated with the YPG not to take advantage of a confused situation by seizing new territory,” Kirby said in a written statement.
He also urged Turkey to cease its shelling in northern Syria.
“We have also seen reports of artillery fire from the Turkish side of the border and urged Turkey to cease such firing,” Kirby said.
According to sources, the Turkish military shelled positions in northern Syria twice on Feb. 13 within its rules of engagement.
The first incident occurred at 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, sources said.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the Turkish army shelled YPG positions in northern Syria for a second day on Feb. 14, killing two militants.
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).