The Syrian Kurdish forces said it would be targeting any Turkish fighter planes or helicopters that would breach the Syrian Kurdish region of Rojava after reportedly two Turkish helicopters were seen flying over the region.
The threat was made by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a group that was threatened with airstrikes by the Turkish military on different occasions over the past few months as part of Turkey’s operation against the Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party (PKK) which kicked off in July. Turkey claims that the YPG has ties to the PKK.
“Two unidentified military helicopters were seen Tuesday night in Qamishli’s northern suburbs, specifically in Alyan area, flying over the oil-rich town of Rumelan and the petroleum stations of Tel Adas (Gir Ziro) as well as the village of Gir Ziyaret,” the YPG’s official spokesman Redur Khalil said in a statement Wednesday according to the Kurdish Question website.
“We, the YPG forces, warn if this irresponsible action (Turkish breach of Syrian Kurdish airspace) were repeated, we will take the necessary procedures to target any violation of such type.”
Speaking to ARA News, an unnamed source confirmed that a Turkish helicopter “breached the region’s airspace almost three kilometers above Derona Aghe village north of Chel Agha,” in north of Syria.
The YPG has been an important force against the Islamic State group in Syria. The Kurdish militia has secured several victories against the extremist group, pushing back against offenses and taking control of strategic strongholds of the Islamic State group.
The announcement comes just days after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet that Ankara claims had breached Turkish airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government have denied the allegations and said that downing the jet would have “serious consequences”.
Moscow and Ankara have both dismissed the possibility of further military escalation, however, Russia has begun to implement response measures and sanctions that would impact economic, tourism and diplomatic ties between the two countries.