Turkish airstrikes take aim at both U.S.-backed Kurdish forces and ISIL in Syria

by WorldTribune Staff, August 28, 2016

Turkey confirmed its F-16s launched airstrikes on both Kurdish and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) targets in Syria on Aug. 27.

Turkish security sources said the strikes targeted U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG militia, which makes up the majority of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Jarablus Military Council, part of the SDF, said Turkish planes hit the village of al-Amarna south of Jarablus, causing civilian casualties. It called the action “a dangerous escalation”.

Turkish F-16. /U.S. Air Force photo
Turkish F-16. /U.S. Air Force photo

Turkish security sources said the strikes were in response to the YPG’s rocket attack on a Turkish tank that killed one soldier and wounded three others.

Ankara also said it struck six ISIL targets in Syria on Aug. 27.

On the ground, Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes supported Syrian rebels it is allied with as they seized control of the border town of Jarablus from ISIL, seeking to stop any Kurdish forces from moving in first.

Turkey is determined to stop Kurdish forces from gaining control of a continuous stretch of Syrian territory on its frontier, which observers say would embolden the Kurds’ drive for autonomy.

Several militias under the SDF banner pledged support to Jarablus Military Council after it reported the Turkish bombing.

The Northern Sun Battalion, an SDF faction, said in a statement it was heading to “Jarablus fronts” to help the council against “threats made by factions belonging to Turkey”.