Ankara 'Couldn't Have Struck Kurdish Positions Without US Coalition's Approval'

© AP Photo / Selcan HacaogluA Turkish F-16 prepares to taxi while another one takes off at 3rd Main Jet Air Base
A Turkish F-16 prepares to taxi while another one takes off at 3rd Main Jet Air Base - Sputnik International
It is likely that Ankara's attacks against the positions of the Syrian Kurdish militia and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq were carried out with tacit approval of the US-led coalition, Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) told Sputnik, calling upon the coalition to make an assessment of the situation.

A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet - Sputnik International
Turkish Military Confirms Airstrikes Against Kurdish YPG in Northern Syria, Iraq
Ankara could not have struck the positions of Kurdish militias in northern Syria and Iraq without receiving approval from the US-led coalition in the first place, Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Sputnik Turkey.

On April 25, Turkish warplanes conducted airstrikes against suspected positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Sinjar (Shingal) in northern Iraq and the PYD-affiliated Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, near the town of Derik in the Qerecox mountains.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey, and the YPG is seen by Ankara as being affiliated with the outlawed PKK.

"Iraqi Sinjar and Syria's Qerecox have become a layer for the PKK and its affiliates, which are carrying out terrorist attacks and are attacking our troops [and] civilians. Aiming to wipe out these havens that are threatening the unity of our nation and the unity and security of the country, we carried out an aerial operation in Sinjar in the north of Iraq and in northeast Syria at 00:00 GMT on April 25. Terrorist targets were hit," the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.

Deir ez-Zor - Sputnik International
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Speaking to Sputnik, Salih Muslim underscored that as a result of the Turkish airstrike against Karacok and its environs in northern Syria, at least four villages were subjected to the attacks. Civilians fell victim to the Turkish onslaught both in northern Syria and Iraq's Sinjar region.

Muslim pointed out that the Kurds expected an airstrike from Turkey.

"Almost every day [ahead of the attack] the Turkish military had been shelling villages in the region using tanks and howitzers," Muslim told Sputnik, "But we did not expect a strike of this magnitude: 26 Turkish Air Force fighters took part in the air attack."

The co-chairman of the PYD stressed that the planes of the Turkish Armed Forces could not have carried out the operation without the consent and approval of the coalition forces led by the United States.

"Without the approval of the [US-led] coalition, Turkey could not have carried out such an operation, its aircraft would not have entered the airspace over the region," Muslim said, "The coalition should make a statement about the attack of the Turkish fighters and clarify whether they knew in advance about the impending strike. They should comment on this move and make an assessment of the situation."

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters, raises a flag of the SDF near the village of Bir Fawaz, 20 km north of Raqqa, during their offensive towards the Islamic State (IS) group's Syrian stronghold as part of the third phase retake the city and its surroundings, on February 8, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Muslim also stressed that "the Turkish Armed Forces' strike will affect the operation to liberate Raqqa," the de-facto capital of Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria.

In November 2016, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces launched an operation codenamed the Wrath of Euphrates (also referred to as Euphrates Rage), to expel Daesh from its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

On April 14, the US-backed SDF announced the start of the fourth phase of the operation aimed at clearing rural areas of Raqqa from terrorists, who seized the city back in January 2014.

Commenting on the issue, Rudaw, an Erbil-based Kurdish media group, reported that five factions in the Kurdistan Parliament strongly condemned the bombing of Mount Shingal by Turkish warplanes on Tuesday and called upon the international community to stop Ankara.

"The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Change Movement (Gorran), Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU, Ykegirtu) Kurdistan Islamic Group (Komal) and Kurdistan Islamic Movement, unanimously issued a statement saying 'once again, Turkish warplanes violated the sovereignty of the land of the Kurdistan Region and bombed the bases of Peshmerga and [PKK affiliated] fighters as well as people's public places and other areas'," the media outlet wrote.

Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds have mounted since July 2015 after a ceasefire between the Turkish leadership and the PKK collapsed.

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