Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria said Saturday that Turkish airstrikes have hit their bases near the key border town of Jarablus, a town seized by Turkey-backed Syrian rebels earlier this week.
The Jarablus Military Council said the airstrikes on their bases in Amarneh village marked an “unprecedented and dangerous escalation” and came after Turkish artillery shelled the positions the day before.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the airstrikes. Turkish officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Jarablus Council is supported by the US-backed and Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces. Turkey sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels capture Jarablus from the Islamic State group, but also partly in an effort to contain the Kurdish-led forces.
Turkey said Thursday it had “every right” to intervene if the Kurdish fighters did not withdraw east of the Euphrates River as promised by the United States, while the Kurds vowed they would not retreat.
The advancing Turkish army captured Jarablus that the Kurdish militias vowed to take for themselves.
Ankara has said the operation in Syria is aimed not just at IS jihadists, but also the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.
Ankara’s hostility to the YPG puts it at loggerheads with its NATO ally, the United States, which works with the group on the ground in the fight against IS.
US Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Turkey on Wednesday, made clear that Washington has strictly told the YPG not to move west of the Euphrates and would no longer receive American support if they did.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.