First Turkish Airstrikes in 17 Months Kill Eight Syrian Kurds

Turkey claims 20 targets hit

Reports of fighting this weekend in northern Syria led to a flurry of Turkish airstrikes, the first such strikes against the area in 17 months. Eight Kurds were reported killed, labeled YPG by Turkish officials.

Turkey’s operations centered on Ayn Issa and the surrounding area, which is Syrian Kurdish territory. These are places Turkey often attacks, though it is rare in recent days for them to resort to airstrikes.

Turkey has been hostile with the Syrian Kurds, as with most Kurds, for many years. Turkey has made a point to occupy much of northern Syria specifically in the name of keeping the Kurds from threatening their border.

Northern Syria to the west was seized by Turkey earlier in the Syrian war, while the US took the part further east, though since the US drawdown, Turkey similarly occupies that territory as well. Turkey reported new fighting, and that gave way to the airstrikes against targets across Syrian Kurdistan. It’s not clear what this is intended to accomplish, but likely is just the start of new Turk attacks.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.