US troops go in to keep Turks, Kurds apart
THE US has reportedly sent troops to the border between Turkey and the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Syria, in an apparent response to a spate of Turkish assaults on Kurdish targets.
The Turkish military has launched air strikes against targets in the three self- governing cantons of Rojava in the past week followed up with artillery and tank assaults.
Houses and schools were reportedly damaged and a media centre was destroyed.
About 30 Kurdish soldiers involved in the battle against Islamic State were killed in the Turkish actions, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, including six members of the Kurdish Pesmerga in a separate strike on Iraqi Kurdistan.
This means US forces have been forced to intervene between two of their own allies, with Turkey being a member of NATO.
On Friday, a commander of the Kurdish People's Protection Units told Reuters he expected US troops to arrive on the border of the autonomous region to protect its inhabitants from shelling, and video footage circulating online shows armoured vehicles with American flags ranged along the Turkish border.
Both the Peshmerga and the YPG are a crucial part of the US-backed attempt to liberate Raqqa, the largest IS-held city on Syrian soil.
Turkey launched a mil- itary operation codenamed Operation Eurphrates Shield last year to push back both IS and Kurds from its border, but ended the mission last month.
That operation included a series of clashes between Free Syrian Army rebels, backed by Turkey, and Kurdish forces who vowed to fight to the death to defend their territory.
Turkey apologised for killing the Iraqi soldiers, but claimed it was targeting the PKK, a banned Kurdish terror group.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has banned Kurdish political parties, imprisoned thousands of activists and said he will "never allow” the creation of a Kurdish state like Rojava on his borders. - INM