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Turkey violates Syria truce by shelling Kurds: Kurdish official

28 February 2016 13:30


A senior Kurdish official says Turkish forces have once again fired shells into Syrian towns controlled by Kurdish forces, violating a ceasefire that has recently come into effect in the Arab country.

“The first violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2268 has been made by Turkey. Its troops shelled the cities of Tal Abyad and Uslub,” head of the Syrian Kurdish mission to Moscow, Rodi Osman, told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

He added that Turkey must be urged to stop “violating Syria’s sovereignty.”

The comments come as a ceasefire agreed by the United States and Russia took effect in Syria on February 27 midnight Damascus time. The Syrian government also accepted the terms of the truce on condition that military efforts against Daesh and the al-Nusra Front Takfiri militants, who are not included in the ceasefire agreement, continue.

A few days before the implementation of the truce, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), with Takfiri terror groups in Syria, saying if Daesh and al-Nusra are kept outside the truce, “then the PYD-YPG must similarly be excluded from the ceasefire for it is a terrorist group just as they are.”

Ankara regards the YPG and PYD as allies of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.

The YPG, which is nearly in control of Syria’s entire northern border with Turkey, has been fighting against Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

This file photo shows a fighter from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) sitting on a tank in the Zohour neighborhood of northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah. ©AFP

The government in Ankara is angered by the rapid advance of Syrian Kurdish fighters in areas near the Turkish border.

Osman, meanwhile, told Russia’s Sputnik news agency that Turkish forces have been carrying out attacks on Kurds in Turkey’s southeast in the cruelest ways that remind one of Daesh.

“The international community should see all these atrocities and judge Erdogan,” Osman said, adding that the Turkish leader does not hide his hostility toward the Kurdish people and insists on denying them their rights.

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the past few months. However, activists argue that clashes have led to the death of civilians and inflicted major damage to the buildings and infrastructure in the southeastern region of the country.

Daesh terrorists come from Turkey: Russia

Meanwhile, in a separate development on Sunday, the Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria said it is verifying reports that a Saturday attack on the Kurdish town of Tal Abyad was carried out by militants coming from Turkey.

“This information was verified though multiple channels, including representatives of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), (a  coalition of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, and Turkmen fighters, backed by the YPG,” said Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko, who heads the center for Syrian reconciliation.

Smoke rises over the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad as it is pictured from the Turkish border town of Akcakale, in Sanliurfa Province, Turkey, February 27, 2016. ©Reuters

He added that Moscow has asked for clarification from the US center based in Amman as Washington has influence on Turkey, a member of the so-called US-led coalition which is purportedly targeting positions of Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

The Takfiri terrorists launched an attack to capture Tal Abyad and Suluk early on Saturday, YPG official Redur Xelil said, adding that the towns were attacked from two sides with some terrorists progressing from across the Turkish border and some others from the south.

Ankara has widely been blamed for the surge in the deadly militancy in Syria as it has been supporting militants with funds, training and weapons.

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