Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

One dead in rocket attack on Turkish town near Syria

One dead in rocket attack on Turkish town near Syria

Earlier on Saturday, the military said it hit shelters and hideouts used by the YPG and other Kurdish fighters, saying Kurdish militants had fired on Turkish positions inside Turkey.

But the USA is backing the YPG in Syria, seeing it as an effective partner in the fight against ISIS.

Speaking to a congress of his ruling AK Party President Erdogan accused Turkey's allies of providing 2,000 plane shipments and 5,000 truckloads of weapons to the YPG, a comment that appeared aimed at the United States.

Instead, the United States has called on Turkey to focus on the fight against Islamic State.

Turkish officials have said after Afrin, the city of Manbij will be attacks, then Kurdish border territories east of the Euphrates.

For his part, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that the "Turkish aggression on Afrin can not be separated from the Turkish policies undertaken since the first day of the Syrian crisis to support terrorism and the terrorist groups in Syria".

On the first day of the offensive, 72 Turkish warplanes reportedly conducted airstrikes on Afrin, ahead of the move by the ground forces, which crossed into Syria on Sunday from Turkey's border province of Kilis.

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Ankara vehemently opposes the YPG because of its links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which has waged an insurgency inside Turkey for three decades.

The heavy bombardment began as units of pro-Ankara rebels known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) started moving into Afrin, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The Syrian government condemned what it called "Turkish aggression on Afrin", Syrian state media reported on January 20.

Ankara has said the offensive was not against "Turkmen, Kurdish or Arab brothers" living in Afrin, but against the "terrorist groups" there. The Turkish army said there were casualties but insisted they were all members either of the YPG or the PKK.

The Turkish campaign risks further increasing tensions with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies including the United States, which has supported the YPG in the fight against IS jihadists. The YPG has said Turkey's strikes killed six civilians and three of its fighters, and wounded 13 civilians.

Mr Le Drian said on his Twitter feed: "Ghouta, Idlib, Afrin - France asks for an urgent meeting of the Security Council".

But the operation, which has been trailed for days, is likely to further heighten an already tense relationship between Turkey and America.

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