Kurdish YPG clash with Turkish army in northern Syria
KOBANI, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – Syrian Kurdish forces on Wednesday said they killed two Turkish soldiers after clashes erupted in northern Syria near the border with Turkey.
The People’s Protection Units (YPG) in an online statement claimed to have destroyed an armored vehicle as dozens of Turkish troops crossed into the Syrian territory west of Kobani, a town at the border with Turkey.
“Fighters of the Turkish military in the early hours of the morning tried to cross the border through the village of Ashma in the province of Kobani, but our forces repelled the attack, detonated an armored vehicle and killed two soldiers,” the YPG statement reads.
The YPG also said several Turkish soldiers were injured, while no casualties reported on the YPG side.
Clashes intensified for a few hours and came to a halt in the afternoon.
Turkey’s policy in northern Syria has been focused on stopping the growing sway of Kurdish groups that have established autonomous regions since Syria’s civil war began in 2011.
A few weeks ago, Ankara sent forces into areas of Syria adjacent to Afrin, on the country’s northwestern border with Turkey, to counter the influence of the YPG.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the time said that Turkey needed to “cleanse Afrin” of the YPG.
Ankara asserts the YPG represents a security threat, viewing it as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting against the Turkish state for decades.
Turkish forces deployed in northern Syria last year in support of Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army rebel groups in an operation that forced the Islamic State (IS) away from the border, and at the same time, drove a wedge between YPG-held areas.
The YPG spearheads the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters fighting the jihadist group with the support of the US-led coalition.
Editing by Nadia Riva