Recent Kurdish-Turkish Escalation Delays US-backed Operations Against ISIS Near Raqqah

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Recent Kurdish-Turkish Escalation Delays US-backed Operations Against ISIS Near Raqqah

EPA/STR

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), one of the largest groups in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), suspended its military operations with the US-led coalition in Syria, according to unconfirmed reports so far.

During the past two days, Turkish warplanes and artillery have bombed several targets of the YPG, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as well as Kurdish civilian targets in Iraq and Syria.

At least 16 YPG fighters were killed as a result of the attacks, according to the group’s statement. Turkey claimed 70 militants of the PKK had been killed as a result of the airstrikes.

So far, the SDF has been continuing its operations against ISIS in the Raqqah countryside. But it has not released any statement denying the YPG suspension of its anti-ISIS operations in Syria.

Even if reports are not true and the YPG continues its operations along other SDF members in the US-backed advance in the Raqqah countryside, the Turkish actions have already delayed the SDF operation against ISIS.

Kurdish parties and groups in both Syria and Iraq have called the US-led coalition to establish a No-Fly zone against Turkish aircraft in northern Syria and Iraq after repeated airstrikes that led to victims among civilians, according to pro-Kurdish sources.

From its side, Washington said it is deeply concerned by the Turkish raids against the YPG in Syria.

The Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed that the airstrikes will continue in both Iraq and Syria against what they described as “terrorist groups.”

Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that Washington, Russia and the Iraqi government were aware of the airstrikes and that Turkey would not allow the Sinjar Mount or northern Syria to be turned into a safe hidden for PKK militants.

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