Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Green Left Party (YSP) has condemned drone attacks carried out by Turkey in northern Syria, highlighting that the airstrikes resulted in civilian casualties and labeling remarks made by the Turkish foreign minister vowing to target infrastructure supporting Kurdish militants as a “clear admission of war crimes.”
Turkey stepped up cross-border air raids against Kurdish targets in northeastern Syria and northern Iraq in retaliation for a bombing in Ankara that injured two policemen on Sunday.
A branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community — claimed responsibility for the first such attack in Ankara in 2016.
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Wednesday that two suspected Kurdish militants who died while staging the attack in Ankara had been trained in Syria and that Turkey reserved the right to strike a broader range of Kurdish targets in both Syria and Iraq in retaliation for Sunday’s attack.
“From now on, all infrastructure, large facilities and energy facilities belonging to [armed Kurdish groups] in Iraq and Syria are legitimate targets for our security forces,” Fidan said.
Syria’s north is controlled by the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which fought alongside an international coalition to dislodge Islamic State group jihadists from the region in 2019.
United States support for the YPG has strained Ankara’s ties with Washington since the jihadists’ defeat.
Those tensions spilled over when a US fighter jet shot down a Turkish combat drone on Thursday that was deemed to be a threat to US forces backing up the YPG.
The YSP statement emphasized that Turkey’s attacks targeted various types of civilian infrastructure in north and east Syria.
According to the YSP, among the targeted facilities were power plants, brick factories, wheat depots, food production facilities, dams, bridges and roads. The party pointed out that these attacks resulted in the loss of life and injuries among civilians.
The party also took aim at the broader Turkish opposition, stating that any parliamentary approval of the mandate for this military action against the Kurds would make them complicit in war crimes. The YSP reminded that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is expected to soon submit a motion to parliament for approval to conduct cross-border military operations again.