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Turkish jets strike Kurds in Syria

Turkish jets Wednesday unleashed more than 20 air raids against the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurd-led group of militias north of Aleppo, Kurdish authorities and activists said.

The jets targeted positions in the villages of al-Hasiya, Um al-Qura and Um Hosh, which the SDF had captured from ISIS, the activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said late Wednesday.

Turkish jets carried out 26 airstrikes on 18 Syrian Kurdish YPG militant targets in northern Syria and killed 160 to 200 militants, the Turkish army said Thursday.

Turkey, a main backer of the insurgency against President Bashar Assad, entered the Syrian conflict in August, using its armor and air power to help Free Syrian Army rebel groups take territory near the border held by ISIS.

However, Ankara's intervention also aimed to prevent the SDF from gaining more ground along the frontier and connect three de facto autonomous Kurdish cantons in northern Syria that have emerged during the 5-1/2-year civil war.

The strongest force in the SDF is the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which it has been fighting within its own frontiers for decades. The YPG and PKK deny having direct links.

The Turkey-backed FSA groups have in recent weeks been pushing southwards from the frontier towards al-Bab, the last big town held by ISIS in northwest Syria. The villages taken by the SDF from ISIS also represented an advance towards al-Bab.

Source: National News Agency