Turkish jets carried out 26 air strikes on 18 Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), targets in northern Syria, claiming to kill between 160 and 200 militants, the Turkish army said in a statement. The army said its jets had pounded areas recently captured by YPG militants late on Oct. 19, destroying nine buildings, one armoured vehicle and four other vehicles that belonged to the YPG militia.
The jets targeted positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in three villages northeast of the city of Aleppo which the SDF had captured from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, according to Reuters news agency.
The British-based observatory monitoring group reported a much lower toll of 11 dead and dozens wounded. Officials of the Kurdish-led administration that controls much of northeastern Syria said dozens had been killed, including at least four civilians.
Turkey launched a military operation, named Euphrates Shield, in northern Syria in August, using its armor and air power to help Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters take territory near the border held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The United States has backed the Kurdish-led forces in their fight against ISIL, which has angered Ankara, which sees the YPG as an extension of outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, with whom Turkey is in an armed fight since the mid-1980s.
Meanwhile, five shells were allegedly fired from the YPG-controlled Afrin region of Syria at the border province of Hatay, triggering retaliatory fire against YPG militia targets in Afrin, the Turkish Armed Forces said. The shells, which were fired at around 5:50 a.m., did not cause any casualties or damage, a Turkish spokesman said. However, the spokesman confirmed, the Turkish military fired back with howitzers, in line with its rules of engagement, between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m.
This article, with input from Reuters news agency, was originally published in Hurriyet Daily News