Turkey shelled Kurdish villages neighboring Kobane on Friday, continuing its December push against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, the YPG, who were excluded in the cease-fire brokered with Russia last week.
The shelling, reported by the YPG Press Office, hit Qeremox and Gire Sor as of early morning. Qeremox was also one of four villages east of Kobane attacked with heavy weaponry from Dec. 30 to 31. Kobane, a border town with Turkey, has been a symbol of Kurdish resistance against the Islamic State group and drew international solidarity in 2014 when it almost fell from Kurdish control. The YPG is known for its Marxist ideology and all-women brigade, the YPJ.
Turkey has seen the city as a bridge for the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, the PKK, the guerilla of Turkish Kurds who are battling Turkish forces for sovereignty and are closely allied to the YPG. Since a two-year-long cease-fire broke between the two in July 2015, and since Turkey escalated its offensive against “terrorist” forces following a state of emergency from successive attacks and an attempted coup, Turkey has more ruthlessly pursued the Kurdish guerillas, both in Turkey and in Syria.
Days after the cease-fire in Syria began, Turkish forces stormed near the border town of Tirbespiye, closer to Iraq, on Tuesday. Three helicopters entered, reported the YPG, one of them firing indiscriminately on a rural town. Turkish state media reported three days later that two Turkish soldiers were killed in an operation against the PKK in Sirnak, a nearby Turkish city.
The renewed attacks near Kobane come a few weeks after Turkey fired on YPG headquarters in Tel Shaeer, also near Kobane, and on neighboring Tel Abyad in October.
“Before the YPG-SDF retook Tel Abyad from ISIS in early 2015, the terror group (Islamic State group) used to export its oil tankers through this border crossing to the black market,” YPG officer Habun Osman told the Syrian Kurdish ARA News.
“When ISIS was in control here, Turkey never attacked the group’s positions. Now that Tel Abyad is under Kurdish control, the Turkish Army continues to attack the area.”
He added that Turkey was interested in Tel Abyad “to assist the terror group (and) export its oil to the black market via Turkey.”