Turkish Troops Trade Fire With Syrian Kurds Along Border

Turkey Rejects US Claims Kurds Have Left Manbij

Turkish forces and the Syrian Kurdish YPG have exchanged fire across the border between Turkey and Syria today, according to military officials. There were as yet no details about the casualties, but the fighting does point to Turkey’s operations inside Syria, since their invasion two weeks ago, moving into a new anti-Kurdish phase.

Both sides accuse the other of firing first, and look officials in Afrin, the Kurdish-held town, denied that they returned any fire at all, insisting it was simply another round of “Turkish aggression” that threatened to ignite a war against them.

Turkey made much of invading Syria not just to fight ISIS, but to expel the Kurds from west of the Euphrates River. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter today reiterated that the Kurdish YPG had totally withdrawn from Manbij. Turkish officials have repeatedly said that the Kurds have not withdrawn from the area.

A US-backed offensive by Kurdish forces seized Manbij last month, capping two and a half months of fighting with ISIS. Turkey claimed US assurances that the Kurds would not keep Manbij, on the western shore of the river, and Turkey invaded the following week, capturing the ISIS city of Jarabulus, due north of Manbij.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Basil McDonnell

    So do the Turks have any choice (given their stated opposition to a Kurdish state) than to invade and occupy all of North Syria?

    Could that be the reason the tanks sent across so far are the oldest and least capable- the old M-60’s? Where are the Leopards?

    • Mark Thomason

      I noticed that too. I assume they are the tanks they use for infantry support units, just as the Israelis once used their Super Shermans in like circumstances.

    • Turkey has no more right to Rojava than the Zionists do to Palestine. The YPG and the PKK reject the very notion of the state. They’re anarchists. All they want is autonomy in the lands they’ve occupied for centuries.

  • Mark Thomason

    Of course the US Sec of Defense is lying. The person in that office has lied every time he speaks about anything for years, since Bush at least. It is the system.