Turkish army shells Tal Abyad following threats by Turkish president

“There is no reason for this attack. It is a direct aggression against the democratic elements and powers that seek to resolve the Syrian crisis and fight terrorism.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish cross-border shelling killed one Kurdish conscript and injured another on Tuesday after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced an offensive to attack Kurdish forces who are engaged in the war against the so-called Islamic State (IS).

A military source confirmed to Kurdistan 24 that one member of the duty of self-defense (EXP) was killed, and another one was injured.

The local news agency, Hawar News, also reported that at 9 p.m. local time, the Turkish army shelled the Tal Abyad border gate.

On Sunday, President Erdogan told members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the parliament that they would attack the east of the Euphrates and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“We have finished all our preparations, plans, programs regarding the issue,” he added.

On Tuesday, Turkey’s national defense minister Hulusi Akar said Ankara’s next area of activity would be east of the Euphrates, after the actions in Manbij, northern Syria, Anadolu reported.

“Erdogan’s threats to attack Kurds east of Euphrates may be rhetoric to solidify his base – or not,” Aliza Marcus, a Washington DC-based analyst on the Kurdish issue who recently visited Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), told Kurdistan 24.

“Just in case, [the] US needs to make clear Rojava is [a] key political ally too, and maybe put some troops near Tel Abyad.”

The attack comes as the YPG and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are engaged in a massive fight against IS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley in Deir al-Zor province. The Kurdish forces recently sent reinforcements to the area after IS retook some villages in a counterattack.

On Sunday, the Turkish military also shelled villages west of Kobani and towns close to Manbij. The assault killed one conscript and injured one woman.

Turkey’s “unjustified attacks” on the YPG who are working to repel IS in Syria aid the terrorist organization indirectly, the YPG said on Sunday after Turkey’s shelling.

“We affirm once again that there” were no attacks “conducted from our side against the borders of” Turkey, the Kurdish forces stated.

The former co-head of TEV-DEM (Movement for a Democratic Society), Aldar Xelil, said the Tal Abyad attack was “another serious escalation, and in service of Turkey’s long-term goal in Syria, which is to provoke chaos.”

“There is no reason for this attack,” the top Syrian Kurdish official said. “It is a direct aggression against the democratic elements and powers that seek to resolve the Syrian crisis and fight terrorism.”

“The silence of the world regarding Turkey’s practices is a negative development that will not serve anyone. Our people have the right to self-defense and will not hesitate to resist,” he added.

Xelil called on the international community and relevant institutions to “intervene to prevent the escalation of the tension, which will not be good, considering the current circumstances.”

Nicholas A. Heras, a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told Kurdistan 24 the United States would not accept a Turkish attack on the east of the Euphrates.

Heras said Erdogan “desires nothing else but to destroy the SDF and show the Americans that it is his will that will be done in Syria.”

However, Washington “is too invested in post-IS stability operations working in Syria to let Erdogan have his way,” he concluded.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany