On August 22, the Turkish military launched artillery strikes against the ISIS terrorist group and forces linked with the US-backed Democratic Union Party (YPD) in northern Syria.
Reports said that the howitzer shelling hit ISIS targets near Jarablus and US-backed Kurdish forces, that operate under the YPG and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) brands north of Manbij.
Turkish officials say that the move aimed at opening a corridor for an “operation.” Earlier on August 22, the Turkish authorities had vowed to “completely cleanse” terrorists from its border region in the wake of the suicide bombing attack that left over 54 people dead in Turkey over the weekend.
“Daesh [ISIS] should be completely cleansed from our borders and we are ready to do what it takes for that,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a news conference.
The very same day, the commander of the SDF Jarabulus, Abdulsetar Cadir, was assassinated by unknown persons. The incident took place just hours after the SDF set up the Jarablus Military Council, an operation room aimed to seize the strategic border town of Jarabulus from ISIS.
The Turkish strikes in northern Syria cam amid the deep conflict between the Syrian government and the PYD-linked forces in the predominanlty Arab town of Hasakah in the SDF-controlled territory of northeastern Syria and rumors that Turkish-backed militants are gathering for an operation to seize Jarabulus from ISIS in a cross-border operation from the Turkish territory.
In general, the developments show that the PYD’s agressive stance towards the Syrian government rapidly turned the Kurds into an easy target for Turkey and the Turkish-backed forces in northern Syria.