Turkish government denies attacking US troops

Updated: Oct 13, 2019, 10:44 IST | Agencies |

Turkey's defence ministry said in a statement that the troops had acted in self-defence as they had been targeted by YPG fighters

Turkey-backed Syrian rebel watches as smoke billows from the border town of Ras al-Ain on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Turkey-backed Syrian rebel watches as smoke billows from the border town of Ras al-Ain on Saturday. Pic/AFP

Ankara: The Turkish government on Saturday denied that its army had launched attacks on US special forces deployed in northeastern Syria, as it was earlier claimed by the Pentagon. "Attacking US forces is out of the question. There's the necessary coordination between our forces and the Americans," Turkey's defence minister, Hulusi Akar, said at a press conference.

Pentagon sources said that Turkish artillery fire had landed near the US base near the Syrian border city of Kobane. Turkey aims to carve out a so-called safe zone that will extend about 32 km into northern Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border.

The Turkish Army and allied factions of the Free Syrian Army, armed militias opposed to President Bashar Al Assad, began the incursion into northern Syria on Wednesday in an operation dubbed "Peace Spring". They are fighting against the YPG, which controls most of northern Syria.

The YPG, officially the People's Protection Units, is the largest Kurdish militia in the region. Ankara considers YPG a terrorist organisation indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a Kurdish militant group fighting against the Turkish state. Turkey's defence ministry said the mortars fired by YPG hit Turkish city of Suruc, which is facing Kobane.

1,00,000 flee homes as violence escalates

1,00,000 flee homes as violence escalates

Damascus: At least 100,000 people have fled their homes in Syria, as Turkey presses on with its cross-border offensive on Kurdish-held areas, the UN said. Many people are taking shelter in schools or other buildings in Hassakeh city and the town of Tal Tamer. Turkey took action on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump pulled American troops out of the area. At least 11 civilians have died. Dozens of fighters from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and pro-Turkish factions have been killed.

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