News / Middle East

    US Urges Restraint from Turkey, Kurdish Militia Near Aleppo

    Displaced Syrians fleeing areas in the northern embattled province of Aleppo sit under a truck at the Bab al-Salama camp, set up outside the Syrian city of Azaz on Syria's northern border with Turkey, Feb. 12, 2016.
    Displaced Syrians fleeing areas in the northern embattled province of Aleppo sit under a truck at the Bab al-Salama camp, set up outside the Syrian city of Azaz on Syria's northern border with Turkey, Feb. 12, 2016.
    VOA News

    The U.S. State Department voiced fresh concern Saturday over reports of Turkish military strikes on Kurdish militia in northern Syria, urging both Turkey and Syrian Kurds to exercise restraint as tensions approach the breaking point in the troubled region.

    Spokesman John Kirby, in a statement, urged both sides to step back, saying they should instead focus on defeating Islamic State extremists who occupy large swaths of northern Syria.

    Earlier, Turkey's military shelled Kurdish militia targets north of the embattled city of Aleppo. That bombardment came just hours after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that Ankara would act if it faced a threat from across the border.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors Syria's war, said the shelling had targeted the air base and a village captured from insurgents by the YPG militia.

    Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its YPG militia to be branches of the Kurdistan Workers Party, (PKK) which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the country.

    A Kurdish official confirmed shelling had taken place at the Menagh air base, which he said had been captured by the Kurdish-allied Jaysh al-Thuwwar group rather than the YPG. Both are part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces alliance.

    The shelling took place amid growing anger in Ankara with U.S. backing for the PYD in its fight against Islamic State militants.

    The PYD is in control of most of the Syrian side of Turkey's border, and nearby bases in Iraq's Qandil Mountains have been bombed repeatedly by the Turkish military.

    Speaking Saturday in Erzincan, in eastern Turkey, Davutoglu said, "When there is any threat to Turkey, we will take in Syria the measures that we took in Iraq and in Qandil and will not hesitate to implement the necessary measures."

    Rising refugee numbers

    Turkey has been concerned by the tens of thousands of people fleeing to the Turkish border after attacks by Russian-backed Syrian government forces, increasing refugee numbers in the area to 100,000.

    Turkey, which already hosts 2.6 million Syrian refugees, has kept the latest arrivals on the Syrian side of the border, in part to pressure Russia to stop its air support for Syrian government forces near Aleppo.

    Davutoglu condemned the attacks in Aleppo as "barbarity, tyranny, a war strategy conducted with a medieval mentality," and said hundreds of thousands of people in the region faced starvation if a humanitarian corridor was not opened.

    "We will help our brothers in Aleppo with all means at our disposal. We will take those in need, but we will never allow Aleppo to be emptied through an ethnic massacre," he said.

    Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, quoted in Turkish newspapers, said Riyadh and Ankara were coordinating plans to intervene in Syria, where Russia has been backing a successful regime offensive against rebels.

    "If there is a strategy [against the Islamic State jihadist group], then Turkey and Saudi Arabia could enter into a ground operation," he said.

    Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia was also sending planes to the Turkish base of Incirlik, a key hub for U.S.-led coalition operations against IS already used by Britain, France and the United States for cross-border air raids.

    World powers on Friday announced an ambitious plan to stop fighting in Syria within a week, but doubts have emerged about its viability, especially because it did not include the Islamic State militant group or al-Qaida's local branch, which is fighting alongside other rebel groups in several areas.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Alex from: HK
    February 14, 2016 10:42 AM
    Kurds fight ISIS - Turkey bombs them.
    Russia fights ISIS and the rebels - Turkey shoots their planes down. But has yet hard problems to find and bomb ISIS strongholds just across the border.

    Try to see the whole chessboard. ISIS are the wild dogs of Turkey. Just like Hezbollah are the errand boys of Iran. The Turks use ISIS to get rid of all the opposition in the Middle East and pave the way for their islamic caliphate. You think that all these ISIS terrorists came from the Mediterranean with Paradise Cruise boats? No. Turkey ran all the ISIS fighters through Turkey to Syria and then supported them financially and with weapons. Erdogan has always dreamt of re-creating the Neo-ottoman Empire and ISIS will help him do that. The new islamofascist Turkey and ISIS are not that different.

    p.s. Kick Turkey out of NATO. It is not worth going to war for this islamofascist country based on genocide on Greeks, Armenians and Kurds.

    by: shadow
    February 14, 2016 6:44 AM
    There is a war near turkey border.in the world,no country only watch a war near its border.if your neighbor home has a fire, it is probably to fire your home.therefore turkey should strongly act every movement who is trying convert this war into turkey.kurds are trying to use this conflict to take territory for their dream of kurdish state.but I have to say that it is not possible now or future.They always have acted against turkey and arab world who are main dominant actor in middle east.for example,north ıraq kurds are better off because of their strategy comply with turkey.terrorist organization PKK and its branch YPG, have to stop their activity against turkey if they want to change their destiny.Turkey is strong and brother of kurds.aggresion from syrian kurds to turkey via YPG does not serve building their future happly.they have to understand this.

    by: Anonymous
    February 14, 2016 12:52 AM
    Turkey will bring about the end of NATO...

    by: Bill Blinky from: South of the Equator
    February 13, 2016 7:14 PM
    To most people living in the West, Turkey bombing any Kurds sounds incredibly stupid. Turkey is well known for it's tolerance towards Isil and seems to have been funding it through oil, slaves and artifacts. How the EU can consider Turkey for membership is puzzling. Especially when most of Turkey is in Asia.
    The Kurds would be well advised to treat USA with caution. They completely failed to support the Kurds who rose up against Saddam Hussein, and will drop them like a hot potato if it doesn't suit them. To me, Russia appears to be a natural fit for the Kurds, and both could enjoy a happy partnership.

    by: drac
    February 13, 2016 4:59 PM
    Even during ww2 when the Kurds rose up against the brits they never pushed into Sunni historical territory in Iraq or syria.

    I think they are being goaded by America into this new attitude with verbal promises.

    But as with the fsa in Syria America will abandon them when other factors arise...Kurds might be well to consider Turkey a NATO member consideration more than current administration promises in America
    .

    In can all change come Nov 7th
    In Response

    by: John Macassey from: New Zealand
    February 13, 2016 7:53 PM
    Turkey is a strong supporter of Al-Nusra Front from whom Kurdish forces captured the air base. Turkey is also the main purchaser of ISIS oil. To be honest, Turkey is fast becoming a big problem for US/NATO.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora