US government voices concerns over Turkish airstrikes against Kurdish positions

Cheryl Sanders
May 6, 2017

The PKK terror group's Syrian wing the People's Defense Forces (YPG) on Thursday attacked the Turkish military with mortar and missile fire from the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad.

Turkish warplanes killed more than 20 Kurdish fighters Tuesday in strikes in Syria and Iraq, where the Kurds are key players in the battle against the Islamic State group.

The Turkish military said the pre-dawn raids targeted "terrorist hotbeds" and supply routes used by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, to smuggle ammunition, weapons and explosive material into Turkey, where it is waging an insurgency.

The US said it is "deeply concerned" that Turkey conducted airstrikes in Syria and Iraq without "proper coordination" with Washington or the coalition forces, media reports said.

Turkey categorizes both as terrorist groups, but Washington considers them as an integral part of the global coalition to defeat Islamic State.

The Peshmerga released a statement blaming the strikes on the presence of the PKK group, which is usually based in Turkey.

The Turkish strikes also killed six pro-Ankara Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq on Tuesday, in what was apparently an accident.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters that the airstrikes in Iraq were "were absolutely not an operation against the Peshmerga", according to a CNN translation.

US officials said Turkey had informed the United States less than an hour in advance that it meant to carry out the bombing raids in the crowded airspace over northern Syria and Iraq.

"Three of them are media officials and 15 of them are YPG fighters", Abdel Rahman said.

At least 11 people, including seven children, were killed while trying to escape clashes between the US -led coalition and ISIS in Raqqa province, Al Jazeera reported.

Experts said the Turkish airstrikes would embarrass Washington, which expressed on Tuesday its "deep concern", saying that the Turkish air raids "were not approved" by the Coalition.

However, the PYD and the YPG, as well as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been receiving support from the United States in fighting tDaesh. Two Turkish soldiers were also killed when a roadside bomb planted by the PKK blew up in Sirnak province.

A suspected USA airstrike killed a family when it hit their vehicle as they left the city of Tabqa in northern Raqqa province, according to the monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

Turkish war planes carried out strikes on Kurdish militia forces in Syria yesterday and also hit Kurdish forces in neighbouring Iraq in what Ankara described as "terrorist havens".

"As they were bringing wounded people to the clinic in nearby Kafr Takharim, new air strikes hit near the facility", Abdel Rahman said.

Other reports by iNewsToday