Turkish artillery targets US-backed forces in northern Syria

Turkish-backed operations in north Syria are attacking US-supported forces outside the flashpoint city of Minbij, with several people reported killed and injured in recent days, local sources told dpa on Friday.

Syrian state-television, quoting a military source, confirmed there was shelling from the Turkish side.

“The Turkish aggression on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic is an attempt to stop the successes and progress of the Arab army Syrian and allied forces in the war against terrorist organisations,” according to the report.

On Tuesday, the Minbij Military Council, which is part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), handed areas west of Minbij to Syrian government forces, part of an agreement brokered by Russia.

The SDF had taken the area from Islamic State in 2016.

The U. S. has also moved troops into Minbij, in an apparent effort to deter further Turkish attacks on the SDF, which is Washington’s main ally on the ground in the war against Islamic State.

SDF forces, which are dominated by the Kurdish YPG, are moving on al-Raqqa, Islamic State’s capital in Syria.

“The Turkish artillery has been, since Thursday, shelling posts of the Syrian border guards in the western countryside of Minbij causing deaths and injuries,” an SDF officer told dpa.

The Kurdish Firat news agency said five SDF-allied troops were buried on Friday.

Turkey has threatened to take over Minbij as part of a military campaign in northern Syria. Ankara now controls more than 2,000 square kms of its neighbour’s territory.(dpa/NAN)

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