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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora