- Dozens of Turkish Military Vehicles Cross Syria Border, Dig Trenches – Report
Turkish military vehicles have crossed into a Kurdistani area in Syria, Afrin, just over the border, a Kurdish news agency reported adding that the troops started to dig a trench near Meidan Ekbis, a town in Aleppo province.
Dozens of Turkish military vehicles advanced 200 meters into the Syrian Kurdish region in Aleppo province on Thursday, ANHA news agency reported. It added that the troops started digging a trench between the towns of Sorka and Meydan Ekbis. According to the agency the construction of a concrete wall on the Syrian border in the area is ongoing as well. The agency posted photos of ongoing operations on its website. (top of post)
The Syrian Afrin district bordering Turkey is predominantly Kurdish with a population estimated to be of more than 170,000 people according to a 2004 census. The area is part of a de facto autonomous region of Rojava, or Syrian Kurdistan since 2013.
A Turkish security source told Reuters that they country’s military shelled Kurdish YPG militia positions in northern Syria on Thursday. The source added that the shelling came in response to cross-border fire.
The developments come as Turkey accused forces linked with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia of an explosion in Ankara that killed 28 and injured 61 more. On Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed to continue the military efforts against Kurdish groups in Syria. The Syrian Kurds, in turn, denied responsibility for the attack and put the blame on Islamic State militants (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
Turkey has been stepping up military activity if the areas with a predominantly Kurdish population, which include its own territories in the southeast as well as areas in northern Syria and Iraq.