Turkey's Airstrikes Could Damage Anti-ISIS Efforts

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and European Union and Turkey also considers its Syrian affiliate the PKK/PYD a terror group.

Turkey had passed on information to the United States and Russian military attaches in Ankara, Muftuoglu said, and Turkish army chief Hulusi Akar also held a telephone conversation with his USA and Russian counterparts.

Pressed on how much advance notice Turkey gave the U.S., Dorrian said it was "less than an hour".

Additionally on Tuesday, YPG reported Turkish airstrikes had killed 20 of its fighters in Qara Shouk.

According to the statement, some 70 PKK members were killed in the air raids [30 – in Syria, 40 – in Iraq] and the targets were hit to prevent the PKK from sending “terrorists, arms, ammunition and explosives to Turkey.” The Turkish statement clearly dismissed speculations that Ankara forces hit US-backed fighters in Syria by mistake.

The State Department and the Pentagon both described the United States as "deeply concerned" by the strikes and said the objections were raised directly with the Turkish government.

Turkey views some of the Syrian Kurdish forces assisting the USA -led coalition's campaign against ISIS as terrorists, and in a statement Wednesday, the spokesman for Turkey's foreign ministry, Huseyin Muftuoglu, defended the strikes.

Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said the United States was "deeply concerned" about the Turkish airstrikes, which were "not approved" by the USA -led coalition.

Ilham Ahmed, a senior Kurdish politician who co-chairs the political wing of the SDF, said they wanted the United States to provide aerial protection against Turkey.

The Turkish aerial attacks targeted a media center owned by Kurdish forces and a local radio station, the "Voice of Rojava FM", in the area of Qoreh Job, in the east of the Hasaka province, killing 15 members from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in addition to three workers from the media center.

Tuesday's strikes killed 28 people, majority YPG members, and left another 19 wounded, according to the Observatory.

Turkish airstrikes Tuesday also hit areas in northwestern Iraq and killed at least five Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Dorrian said.

In a rare rebuke to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, the US military charged that Turkish airstrikes against a valued USA -backed Kurdish militia in northern Syria came with little warning and could have endangered American advisers.

Dorrian said the coalition let the Turks know that the amount of time provided before the strikes was inadequate to assure the safety of forces on the ground.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday told Reuters that he would not allow Sinjar to become a PKK base, adding that Ankara informed its partners including the United States, Russia and Iraqi Kurdish authorities ahead of the operation.

It called the attack "unacceptable" but blamed the PKK for being there and demanded the group withdraw from Sinjar.

  • Larry Hoffman