SDF Temporarily Halts ISIS Campaign after Turkish Shelling
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Wednesday that it was temporarily suspending its campaign against the ISIS group near the Iraqi border after it was targeted by shelling from Turkey.
Four fighters were killed in the shelling of Ayn al Arab, or Kobani, in northern Syria, reported Turkish state broadcaster TRT said on Wednesday.
The SDF, in a statement, said Turkish forces were attacking its positions along the length of the border. SDF forces had responded by destroying a Turkish military vehicle, it said, without giving the location. The SDF reserved the “right to respond to all kinds of attacks.”
The SDF general command said in separate statement that the Turkish attacks had led to the temporary halt of the campaign it is waging against ISIS in the Deir Ezzour region.
“The continuation of these attacks will cause a long halt in our military campaign against (ISIS),” it said.
“We call on the international coalition to show a firm position to deter Turkey from these attacks,” the SDF said.
Hundreds of Kurdish civilians demonstrated in the streets of the northeastern city of Qamishli to denounce the Turkish attacks.
On Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to crush Syrian Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates River in Syria - the area where Kobani is located.
Over the past two years, Turkish forces have already swept into Syria to push Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters out of territory west of the Euphrates in two separate military campaigns.
Past offensives halted at the banks of the river, in part to avoid direct confrontation with the United States, which has troops alongside the Kurdish fighters further east.
But Erdogan said Turkey was now prepared to press on, issuing what he said was a “final warning” last week to those who would endanger Turkey’s borders.
He said Turkey would focus its attention east of the Euphrates, rather than the city of Manbij where Turkish and US forces agreed in June to carry out joint patrols.
Turkish forces had bombarded YPG positions on Sunday on the eastern shore of the Euphrates river, Anadolu said.