02/19/2016, 09.36
TURKEY - SYRIA
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Following attack, Ankara steps up bombings of Kurd positions in Syria

Overnight raids on stations controlled by the Kurds in northern Aleppo province. Afrin bastion also targeted. Turkish president holds YPG and PKK responsible for attack on the military convoy in the capital. Washington says there is no evidence to support this thesis.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Turkey has intensified its bombing of areas controlled by the Kurds in the northern province of Aleppo, Syria. The attacks are a response to the attack of 17 February in Ankara, on a military convoy, which resulted in 28 casualties, including civilians, and dozens injured.

The Turkish government holds Syrian Kurdish militiaman responsible for the attack, although many - including Washington - respond that at present there is no evidence to support this thesis.

According to reports from on the ground sources of the London based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (Osdh), "Turkey has been bombarding Kurdish areas north of Aleppo for hours"; these are the most intense "attacks" since the start of the retaliation against the Kurds across the border.

The Kurdish stronghold of Afrin is also being targeted, and not just the areas newly under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, an Arab-Kurdish formation represented mostly by members of the People's Protection Unit (YPG). Their advance has alerted Turkey, which since February 13 has launched a massive bombing campaign.

Meanwhile, the attack on the military convoy, on its way to the headquarters of the General Staff of the Army and the Air Force, is domnating all discussion in Ankara.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims to have "evidence" that it is the work of the Kurdish YPG militias, supported by the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK), which is outlawed in Turkey.

However, both groups deny any involvement in the attack and reject the accusations. Also according to reports from Erdogan, the investigators have arrested 14 people involved in various capacities in the attack.

Yesterday another Turkish military convoy was the subject of a targeted attack in Diyarbakir province, in the southeast of the country; the explosion of a bomb killed at least six soldiers.

Earlier Prime Minister turkish Ahmet Davutoglu had revealed the name of the alleged bomber who struck in Ankara: Syrian Necar Salih, a YPG militiaman. In response, YPG’s political spokesman "firmly rejected" the hypothesis of an involvement, stressing that Turkey is not an enemy.

Turkey views the YPG as a "terrorist" group, whereas for many allies of Ankara, including the United States, the Kurdish militias are valuable allies in the fight against the Islamic State (IS).

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