Turkey Loses Patience With Washington, Starts Shelling US-Backed Kurds In Syria

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Turkey has lost patience with Washington’s support for Kurdish fighters in northern Syria and has started shelling Kurdish Union Democratic Union Party (PYD) positions Saturday.

While a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman didn’t have any information to provide to The Associated Press, a source within the Turkish government confirmed to Reuters that the shelling was in fact taking place, though the source didn’t give a reason for the attacks, or mention the extent of the attacks.

A Kurdish official said that the shelling hit the Menagh air base, which is located in northern Aleppo in Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also stated that artillery strikes were hitting the vollage of Malkiyeh. Kurdish fighters captured the air base and village just this week.

Reports of shelling come just days after Turkish President Recep Erdogan slammed Washington for its stalwart support of the PYD, which it refers to as a terrorist group, as well as the PKK, the Kurdistan Worker’s Party.

“Hey, America. Because you never recognized them as a terrorist group, the region has turned into a sea of blood,” Erdogan said Wednesday.

“Am I your regional partner or are the terrorists in Kobani?” he said in a question directed at Washington. The PYD has a major presence by Syria’s border with Turkey, and the Turkish government believes that the Kurds have a connection to an insurgency actively occurring in southeast Turkey.

Earlier this week, the Department of State confirmed support for Kurdish groups in the fight against the Islamic State, a fight that will continue and is not cut out by the ceasefire agreement between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and anti-government rebel groups.

The situation in Syria is volatile. Despite a ceasefire arrangement worked out between the United States and Russia, the foreign minister for Russia, Sergey Lavrov, said he believes the agreement, designed to bring conflict to a halt within a week, only has a 49 percent chance of holding.

“I like his optimism,” Secretary of State John Kerry said sarcastically in response.

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