Syria: Turkish jets have bombed a city in northern Syria as they targeted a US-backed Kurdish group.
The warplanes attacked Afrin, which is controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), early on Sunday morning, Turkish media reported.
A military statement said the operation was intended to “neutralize”Syrian Kurdish fighters in the city and to save the local population from their “pressure and oppression.” The YPG are US allies in the fight against IS, but they are treated as terrorists by the Turkey.
The Kurds have called for an independent state which they want to be carved out of territory across both Syria and Turkey. YPG fighters are US allies in Syria, but are considered terrorists by Turkey. The attack – codenamed Operation Olive Branch – came as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to expand Turkey’s military border operations in its fight against Islamic State.
Leaders in Ankara have been infuriated by an announcement by the US military a week ago that it was going to create a 30,000-strong border force with the Kurdish fighters to secure northern Syria. With American support, including close to 2,000 embedded forces, the coalition now controls close to a quarter of Syrian territory, concentrated mostly in the north-east. Days later, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson announced that the US would maintain a military presence with the Kurds for the foreseeable future.

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