Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has warned the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People’s Defense Units (YPG) to withdraw their members to their own areas or face the results.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Çavuşoğlu said, “If the YPG/PYD do not withdraw to their areas and continue to attack the Free Syrian Army [FSA], which is conducting operations against Daesh [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL], we will do the necessary.”
“Why do they attack the Free Syrian Army, local forces and moderate opposition, which are fighting against Daesh? It means the aim of the YPG/PKK is not to fight against Daesh but to create their own canton,” added Çavuşoğlu.
A Turkish air strike on Wednesday killed as many as 200 fighters of the PYD and YPG north of the Syrian city of Aleppo, according to a statement from the Turkish military on Thursday.
The Turkish military said it hit 18 targets in 26 airstrikes in the areas under the control of Kurdish militias, destroying their headquarters, ammunition dumps and shelters in the Maarraat Umm Hawsh region of northern Syria.
The statement said one Free Syrian Army fighter died and another was injured in a series of clashes with the PYD and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PYD is a Kurdish opposition party with links to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.
The Syrian Kurdish force has been a source of tension between NATO allies Turkey and the US.
The US considers the militia group, the YPG, to be the most effective force in the fight against the ISIL in Syria.
Ankara has become increasingly wary as the YPG secures large areas of territory along the Syrian-Turkish border.
On Aug. 24 Turkey sent troops and tanks into northern Syria to help opposition forces drive ISIL from an area bordering Turkey and to curb the Syrian Kurdish forces’ territorial expansion.