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Turkey pounds US-backed forces in Syria for second day

A file photo of Turkish army vehicles and tanks parked near the Turkey-Syria border on October 9, 2017 (by AFP)

Turkish troops have started a second day of military strikes against US-backed Kurdish militants in Syria.

The forces have been targeting the militants since Friday after putting up with two days of “harassment” by them, a military statement said, according to Reuters.

“Retaliatory” attacks subsequently targeted the Kurds’ shelters and hideouts.

Turkey deployed troops to northern Syria in August 2016 without Damascus’ approval under the pretext of fighting the Takfiri terror group of Daesh. The operation, named Euphrates Shield, however, was later seen turning its focus on the Kurds, whom Turkey associates with anti-Ankara terrorists.

The operation ended last March, but Turkey recently redeployed its forces after the United States announced a plan to set up a new 30,000-strong “border security” force, including the Kurdish militants, near the Turkish border. Washington had already angered Ankara by reneging on its promise of stopping its arms transfers to the Kurds and retrieving the weapons it had already given to them.

The statement by Turkey’s General Staff said the army hit the Kurdish targets “within the scope of legitimate self-defense,” Reuters added.

Turkey has been remobilizing troops and tanks at its border and vowed to “eradicate” the “threat” from the Kurdish militants in a ground operation in Afrin.

It associates the Kurds with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been engaged in an armed conflict against Ankara for decades.

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