Published by ARA News on February 7, 2017

Kurdish fighters of the YPG in Afrin, northwest Syria. Photo: ARA News

Kurdish officials on Monday accused the Turkish army of shelling the villages of Maranaaz, Vilat al-Qadi, Sheikh Issa east of Afrin district and entering Syrian territory. Turkish media confirmed the shelling.

“Turkish army and affiliated terrorists are heavily shelling east Efrin [Afrin] from Azaz city since Monday evening — the attacks continued until the moment,” the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said in a statement.

The Turkish army has been bombarding Kurdish positions in Afrin district from the rebel-held areas of Marea and Azaz in Aleppo Governorate, in northwestern Syria.

It’s unclear if the shelling was a result of clashes between Kurdish fighters and Turkey-backed militants.

“Where is the ceasefire, if Turkish troops attack the People’s Protection Units in Efrin,” said Ilham Ahmed, a senior Kurdish official, calling on Russia to condemn the violations.

The Turkish army continues to build walls and enter the Syrian Kurdish border areas for weeks. Moreover, there have been constant bombardments of Kurdish positions near Efrin and Til Rifaat, according to local sources.

The Turkish government is building concrete walls under the pretext of stopping illegal crossings along the 900-kilometer borderline with Syria.

However, Kurdish officials in Syria say the wall is built to embargo the Kurdish-held territories in Syria.

In the meantime, a Turkish army convoy entered Azaz city this weekend.

The Turkish government has vowed that the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria –launched in August 2016– will continue in Manbij and Afrin, once al-Bab city is captured.

However, the Turkish army and Turkey-backed rebels in Syria are struggling with taking al-Bab from ISIS.

While Turkey and its allies fight ISIS in northern al-Bab, the Syrian army has continued its advance towards the city from the south in an operation launched three weeks ago.

The Turkish army has earlier said that ISIS was about to withdraw from al-Bab. However, the group continues to hold positions there.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News