A Peoples Protection Units (YPG) fighter in Rojava. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Turkey’s semi-official Anadolu news agency reported that the People's Protection Units (YPG) were backed by Russian aircraft Saturday in an advance into the Azaz region of Syria near the Turkish border.
Russian warplanes have reportedly facilitated the advance of YPG fighters by carrying out three airstrikes against the road linking the district with the Bab al Salameh border checkpoint.
Anadolu also reported that last week Russian aircraft bombed opposition forces in eastern Syria’s Deir Cemal and Meryemeyn in an effort to open corridors for the YPG and Syrian Democratic Forces.
Turkey’s National Security Council in October denounced a new self-proclaimed Kurdish enclave in Syria - Tal Abyad, or Gire Spi - and called on the international community to condemn the YPG as terrorists. Turkey has called the region of Tal Abyad “a campaign to change the demographic make-up of northern Syria."
Turkey’s council assembled after representatives of ethnic communities in the now Kurdish-controlled city of Tal Abyad met Wednesday to declare the region autonomous.
Control of the region is significant for the YPG because it links together many predominantly Kurdish villages in northern Syrian.
Turkey has warned the United States and Russia it will not tolerate any Kurdish region to be held by the PKK, which is deemed a terrorist group by NATO.
"This is clear cut for us and there is no joking about it," a Turkish official told Reuters in October.
Turkey fears advances by Kurdish forces on the Syrian side of its 900 km (560-mile) border will fuel separatist ambitions among Kurds in its own southeastern territories. But Washington has supported YPG fighters as an effective force in combating Islamic State, Reuters added.