Turkish army makes ‘incursion’ near Kurdish towns in Syria

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Damascus, July 31 (IANS) The Turkish army has made a “small incursion” near two Kurdish-controlled towns in Syria’s Ayn al-Arab city, known as Kobane, a well-informed source close to the Kurds said on Monday.

The incursion was near the towns of Saftak and Bobani, northwest of Ayn al-Arab, Xinhua news agency quoted the source as saying.

He said the incursion was “calm without battles” with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) noting that the Turkish forces cannot enter Ayn al-Arab as US military bases are stationed in the city.

The incursion comes as the Turkish forces are amassing fighters near the Syrian borders, as part of Ankara’s preparation to unleash an offensive to capture Afreen city from the Kurdish groups in northern Syria.

The aim of the battle is to prevent the Kurdish fighters from linking areas under their control in eastern Syria with western Syria in the northern part of the country near Turkey.

The US is heavily backing the Kurdish forces, which could prompt Ankara to put the wide-scale offensive on hold.

Ayn al-Arab is a city in Aleppo, lying immediately south of the border with Turkey. As a consequence of the Syrian war, the city has been under control of the Kurdish YPG militia since 2012.

From September 2014 to January 2015, the city was under siege by the Islamic State (IS). Most of the city was destroyed and most of the population fled to Turkey. In 2015, many returned and reconstruction began.

Prior to the Syrian war, Ayn al-Arab had a population of about 45,000, with the majority of inhabitants Kurds.

–IANS

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