A top official in the Syrian Democratic Forces announced on Thursday that there is a “large possibility of open and strong confrontations” with Turkish forces in northwest Syria, where the two sides exchanged fire on Wednesday.
Nasser Hajj Mansour, an SDF adviser, said: “The forces have taken a decision to confront Turkish forces if they try to go beyond the known lines” in the area, in which opposition forces backed by Turkey say that Ankara has deployed additional troops.
Mansour added that Turkey’s attack on the areas under SDF control had seriously harmed the battle to force the Islamic State (ISIS) from its stronghold in the city of Raqqa by keeping SDF fighters away from the front lines in the city.
The Khabar Turk television station on Wednesday quoted military sources as saying that the Turkish army had responded to fire from members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) militia, which is a faction within the SDF, “near the Afrin area on the Syrian-Turkish border overnight, as the Turkish army targeted fighters near the city of Azaz in northern Syria.”
Reuters news agency reported that it was not clear if this had resulted in dead or wounded, adding that the fighters from the militia had opened fire on Turkish army positions.
In the same context, the Turkish army announced the killing of fighters from the Kurdish militias after they attacked forces belonging to the Free Syrian Army south of the city of Azaz in Syria’s northern Aleppo province.
The United States is supporting the YPG in the battle against ISIS in Syria, despite repeated protests from Turkey, which describes the Kurdish Syrian fighters as terrorists connected directly to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is fighting against the Turkish army.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.