Broadcaster Haberturk has reported that Turkey's military has returned fire against members of the Kurdish YPG militia near Syria's Afrin region.
At this time it remains unknown as to whether there were any casualties on either side. Turkish officials have said Turkey's military retaliated after YPG fighters fired upon their positions. Afrin is in northwest Syria and near the border with Turkey.
The United States supports the Kurdish YPG in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, while Turkey (as US-NATO ally) repeatedly protested the support from the United States. Turkey claims the Syrian Kurdish fighters are terrorists and fears their advance will inflame a Kurdish insurgency at home.
Turkey has been enraged by a U.S. decision last month to arm the Kurdish YPG as part of the battle for Islamic State's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa. The Turkish government in Ankara considers the Kurdish YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is outlawed in Turkey and is also considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.
The Kurdish PKK is battling Turkey with insurgency against the Turkish state ever since 1984 and more than 40,000 people, most of them Kurds, have died in the fighting.
Due to increased fighting along with it's Southern border, Turkey last year sent troops into Syria to support Syrian rebels fighting both Islamic State and Kurdish forces who control a large part of Syria's northern border region.
The United States and Turkey have been on a slippery slope ever since. The United States has since deployed it's own special forces into the region to curb the inevitable fighting.
The battle now rages between Kurdish forces and Turkish-backed groups as well as the Turkish military in northern Syria. The Kurdish region of Afrin has been “shelled repeatedly” by Turkish forces and rebel groups backed by Turkey.
The conflict monitor, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported that “US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) returned fire after Turkey began to strike the Kurdish strongholds.”
Reports coming from Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have confirmed that Turkish forces and their Syrian allies have “increased their attacks against Rojava,” specifically attacking the Afrin canton and also flying over Kobane.
The YPG intends to respond to the aggression from the Turks with the full strength of their forces.
The Observatory has also reported that the dramatically rising tensions in northern Syria are in response a build-up of Turkish forces in the area and “continued preparations” of Turkish forces and their Syrian allies “to carry out a wide-scale military operation against the Syria Democratic Forces in Afrin and areas in the northern Aleppo countryside”.
Coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon earlier this week said that “The US-led coalition was aware of the Turkish build-up in northern Syria and fears of an attack on their SDF and YPG allies”. He said the US has ‘seen some movement’ but declined to make any further comment.
The world is now watching to see how Iran/Russia alliance and the Saudi/Israeli alliance responds to these heated proxy wars inside the sovereign nation of Syria.