Turkey-backed FSA launches offensive against US-backed SDF in Syria

Clashes between Free Syrian Army and Syrian Democratic Forces leave dozens dead in northern Syria. Ankara resolves at National Security Council meeting that Turkey will not accept PYD/PKK presence in Syria even if they are battling Daesh

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Free Syrian Army fighter sits in his position in the town of Dael in Deraa, Syria, July 14, 2017.

Syrian opposition group Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched an offensive against Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), also fighting against the regime and Daesh, on Monday in northern Syria as violence escalates between the two sides.

The clashes between the Turkey-backed FSA fighters and US-backed SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters comprising mostly of the YPG, took place around the village of Ain Diqna and nearby Menagh air base north of Aleppo, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

FSA has attacked several SDF-held villages in Aleppo countryside in northern Syria after heavy Turkish artillery shelling targeted SDF positions. The war monitor said the Turkish forces were stepping up their shelling of SDF positions in other areas in an attempt by the Turkish side to advance. 

Turkey considers YPG to be part of PYD which it considers the Syrian affiliate of designated terror outfit PKK. 

Syrian activists said the operation is still ongoing without any significant advance, adding more than 30 fighters from both sides have been killed so far.

Turkey security council slams YPG

The National Security Council meeting in Ankara on Monday resolved that Turkey would never allow a terrorist state to be established on its border, referring to the presence of YPG in northern Syria.

Arms sent by certain allied countries to the PYD (in northern Iraq and Syria) have been delivered to PKK, which vindicates Turkey's rightful objection to the arming of the Syrian terror affiliate, a statement issued after the council’s meeting in Turkey's capital Ankara said.  

The PKK/PYD terror group cannot be legalised, even if it is fighting against another terrorist group Daesh, the statement added. 

Turkey has repeatedly objected to the supply of weapons to terror groups on the pretext of an operation to oust Daesh from Syria's northern city of Raqqa. 

But the US considers the PKK/PYD as a ''reliable partner'' on the ground in Syria and continues to support them in the field.  

''Without leaving double standards on terror organisations, regional peace and security are impossible,'' the statement read, calling on the international community for a mutual understanding to fight terrorism.  

Kurdish referendum in Iraq

Referring to the independence referendum backed by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, the statement said the decision would not be in accordance with the law.  

It would be a ''grave mistake'' and ''will result in undesired results,'' it said, adding that the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq was vital for regional peace and security.  

Raqqa oil fields

The Syrian regime army supported by Iranian backed militias seized new oil fields in the desert in the south-west of Raqqa province on Monday in new advances against retreating Daesh militants.

State media said they had taken al Daylaa oil field alongside the Zamla gas field in large stretches of territory Daesh has been pulling out of in recent weeks.

Source: 
AA, Reuters