Turkey Confirms Attacking Kurdish YPG Forces in Syria

Insists Kurds Won't Be Allowed West of the Euphrates

Following yesterday’s reports of the incident by Kurdish forces on the ground, Turkey’s government has confirmed that they attacked Kurdish YPG targets across the Syrian border, the first time Turkey has admitted to attacking them, amid an ongoing war against Kurdish forces in both Turkey and Iraq.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed the incident, but offered little insight, saying only that Turkey had warned the Kurds would never be allowed to go west of the Euphrates and that Turkey would hit them the moment they did.

The YPG are seeking control over Jarabulus, an ISIS-held border town just West of the Euphrates, though interestingly the cross-border gunfire incidents happened nowhere near Jarabulus – rather they were well further east at Tel Abyad, in the Raqqa Province.

Turkey has made Jarabulus a red line several times in the past, but has also objected to the YPG moving into the ISIS dominated Raqqa Province and carving up ISIS territory. In both cases their primary concern seems to be that the growing Kurdish autonomous region in Syria will add to separatist sentiment within Turkey itself.

Turkey has accused the YPG of being a wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the primary opponent in their ongoing war in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, which has made expanding the war into Syria likely only a matter of time, though with the YPG fighting almost exclusively against ISIS such moves will risk accusations that Turkey is backing ISIS control over those regions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.