Aleppo – The US government has denied any involvement in last week’s clashes between Turkey-backed rebels and the pro-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). American officials have also expressed concern about the number of civilian fatalities, being caused by Turkish air strikes in northern Syria.
“We do not support nor condone any maneuvers in this area, which can only give new oxygen to Daesh,” US State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Monday, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) had accused the US of backing their antagonists in northern Aleppo Governorate. However, the US has now explicitly denied their involvement. “Contrary to reports, the US has nothing to do with reported clashes west of Marea [in Aleppo Governorate],” Kirby said.
Most Kurdish political parties and Moscow have condemned Turkey’s attacks on SDF Positions. However, Kirby’s comments are the first time the US has publicly condemned the fighting.
“[We are] concerned about reports of civilian casualties in recent air and artillery strikes [by Turkey and its allies] in northern Syria,” he said. “[We] call on all sides to stand down and focus on greater threats.”
Rattled by SDF Advances
Last week, the Turkish Army began a campaign against the SDF, by shelling their positions, north of Aleppo city. More than 20 SDF fighters were killed as well as dozens of civilians. Turkish-backed rebels also threatened to expel Kurdish forces from the town of Tel Rifaat.
Turkey and its allies were purportedly rattled by recent advances made by the Revolutionary Army, a SDF affiliated group also known as Jaish al-Thuwar. Their recent push into Islamic State (ISIS) territory placed them 18 km from al-Bab city.
On October 19, SDF and the Turkey-backed rebels exchanged small arms fire. These clashes rapidly escalated and Turkish forces, on October 21, used heavy artillery and missile launchers to bombard the villages of Samouqa, Hasiya, Om Hosh, Harbel and Sheikh Issa.
The Revolutionary Army’s General Command on Saturday said that they had repelled all of the incursions and killed 19 Turkey-aligned fighters.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News