Turkey will continue to strike at Kurdish forces in Syria, Turkish pm tells German Chancellor Merkel

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey will continue to target the fighters of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Feb. 14, despite growing pressure on Ankara to stop the shelling.

In telephone talks, Davutoğlu told Merkel that Turkey “will not permit the PYD to carry out aggressive acts. Our security forces gave the necessary response and will continue to do so,” his office said in a statement.

Kurdish forces have liberated Menagh Airbase in northern Aleppo and now are moving on Azaz and Tal Rifat two small towns in the region held by Al-Qaida linked Al-Nusra front.

Turkish artillery struck at targets of the PYD and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia on both days of the weekend, while insisting that it was returning fire under the rules of engagement.

Davutoğlu told Merkel that the Syrian Kurdish forces, who Turkey accuses of being the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), had been advancing with Russian air support.

Russia is the key ally of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who Turkey wants to see ousted.

France had earlier called for an “immediate halt” to Turkey’s artillery bombardments while the U.S. State Department had also urged Turkey to cease firing.