As Turkey shells Syria's Kobane, the US calls for 'de-escalation' amid continued IS fears

As Turkey shells Syria's Kobane, the US calls for 'de-escalation' amid continued IS fears
Turkish strikes have intensified against Kurdish-dominated areas of northeast Syria following a military campaign in northern Iraq.
2 min read
25 April, 2022
Turkish shelling targeted the city of Manbij in northeast Syria, and several cities held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. [Samer Uveyd/Anadolu Agency via Getty]

The US on Monday called for 'de-escalation' following the intensification of Turkish strikes against Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria amid continued fears of a resurgence of the Islamic State group.

Turkey has stepped up its attacks on Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria and Iraq, including shelling and drone strikes.

The Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) on Thursday announced that three fighters were killed in a Turkish drone strike on the outskirts of Kobane, northeast Syria, on Wednesday.

The following day, further Turkish strikes targeted the city centre and a nearby village, injuring two people.

"The targeting of Kobani, shelling of innocent civilians, & killings of administrative figures by drones are provocations that threaten security & peace & hinder anti-ISIS operations,” the commander-in-chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Mazloum Abdi tweeted on Friday. 

The US-backed SDF acts as the military wing for the autonomous Kurdish administration and has spearheaded efforts to defeat the IS group in northeast Syria.

Turkish shelling targeted several positions controlled by the SDF over the past week, including areas around Ayn Issa, Tal Abyad, Manbij, Tal Tamr.

At least six people have been killed and 10 wounded in the strikes, according to the Rojava Information Centre.

In response, the SDF shelled positions held by the Syrian National Army (SNA) - a Turkish-assembled force made up of former Syrian opposition elements - near the town of Marea, northern Aleppo province.

Kurdish-held areas bordering SNA-controlled areas are subjected to frequent shelling, despite an uneasy ceasefire existing between Turkey and the SDF.

Turkey views the SDF as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist group that originated in Turkey.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU, and US.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said that he views the SDF presence on Turkey's southern border as an unacceptable security threat.

The Islamic State group remains a continued threat in Syria with the US keen to ease tensions between Turkey and Kurdish forces to prevent a security vaccum emerging.