On October 31, the Turkish military artillery shelled positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) around the war torn city of Ayn Arab, known as Kobani, in northern Syria.
An unnamed security source told the Turkish Anadolu Agency that four fighters of the PKK were killed and six others were injured in the shelling.
Minutes later, the YPG announced in an official press release that its fighters had destroyed a truck of the Turkish military inside Turkish territory with an anti-tank guide missile (ATGM). The Kurdish force said that the attack was a response to the Turkish shelling.
“We, as the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF], emphasize that we have the right to retaliate against any attack on our lands and, if necessary, we will not refrain from exercising this right,” the YPG’s press release reads.
The YPG and the PKK, which are considered the core of the US-backed SDF, are both recognized by the Turkish government as terrorist organizations. This has led to serious tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, especially that a large part of the Turkish-Syrian border is now under the SDF control.
After a series of failed attempts to negotiate this issue with the US, Turkey began to adopt a more aggressive policy towards the SDF recently. The Turkish military resumed its artillery strikes on the US-backed group on October 28. Two days later, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had finished preparations for a large-scale counter-terrorism operation in the area east of the Euphrates River in Syria, which is controlled by the SDF.
The situation along the Syrian-Turkish border will likely continue to escalate in the upcoming days, as Turkey and the U.S. appear to be unable to reach an understanding on the so-called Kurdish issue.