Oil and electrical infrastructure are under attack by Turkish drones and artillery shells in Northern Syria currently as of Thursday morning – this comes after Turkey had announced yesterday that it will consider all Kurdish PKK as well as YPG infrastructure and energy facilities in Syria and Iraq as “legitimate targets”. As well Turkey warned its regional and NATO allies to stay away from such facilities under threat of their troops being striked alongside the Kurdish infrastructure.
Reuters: SDF security forces in northeastern Syria said Turkey had launched a series of attacks on Thursday with more than 15 drones entering the region’s airspace and hitting targets including infrastructure and gas and oil stations.
In a statement, the security forces said Turkish attacks killed six members of the internal security forces in northeastern Syria, and two civilians in two separate strikes.
U.S.-led forces were reported to have shot down a drone over northern Syria on Thursday as U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish forces said Turkish attacks had killed eight people in an escalation prompted by a bomb attack in Ankara claimed by Kurdish militants.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a local security source said the U.S.-led coalition had shot down a Turkish drone near a base in northeastern Syria.
A Turkish defence ministry official said the drone shot down by the coalition did not belong to the Turkish armed forces, without saying whose property it was. The coalition did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
U.S. support for Kurdish forces in northern Syria has long caused tension with NATO ally Turkey, which views them as a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – the group which claimed Sunday’s attack in Ankara near government buildings. Ankara said on Wednesday the two attackers had come from Syria. The bombing killed both attackers and wounded two police officers. The Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led force backed by the United States, denied the bombers had passed through its territory.
A Turkish defence ministry official said on Thursday a ground operation into Syria was one option Turkey could consider. Turkey has mounted several previous incursions into northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish YPG group.
“The PKK and the YPG are the same terrorist organisation, they are our legitimate target everywhere. Turkey conducted operations whenever and wherever necessary in the past, and these operations will continue if needed again,” the defence ministry official said. “These operations are being conducted under self-defence rights arising from international law to eliminate terrorist attacks on Turkish territory and to ensure border security.”
The YPG is also the spearhead of the main ally of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. Support for the YPG by the United States and other allies, including France, has strained ties with Ankara.
Turkey has warned forces of third countries to stay away from facilities controlled by the PKK and YPG. “We are calling on all parties, our friendly and allied countries in particular, to stay away from those terrorists. This is just a reminder. It is up to them to take necessary precautions,” the official said, without naming any country.