World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey will not allow the Syrian town of Azaz just across from the Turkish border to fall under the control of Syrian Kurdish fighters, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.
"We will not let Azaz fall," Davutoglu was quoted as saying en route to an official visit to Ukraine.
"The YPG (the People's Protection Units, a Syrian Kurdish militia) will not be able to cross to the west of the Euphrates (River) and east of Afrin," he added.
Turkish artillery struck at targets of Kurdish militia at the weekend, with Ankara insisting that it was returning fire under the rules of engagement.
The regime in Damascus has condemned Ankara over the shelling while urging the United Nations to act.
But Davutoglu said: "The necessary intervention will be made (by Turkey) against the YPG when it is required."
Turkey has been gravely concerned by the moves of the Kurdish fighters on Azaz and has so far defied calls from its Western partners to stop artillery bombardments of YPG positions.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed Kurdish-Arab militia alliance in which the YPG plays a key role, has also seized the Minnigh air base in northern Syria.
Davutoglu warned the forces to withdraw from the airport, issuing a veiled threat of possible Turkish military action if they failed to do so.
"They will withdraw from the airport," he said, referring to the Minnigh air base. "If not, the airport will be rendered unusable," he added, without specifying further.
Turkey accuses the Syrian Kurdish forces of being the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody war against the state since it took up arms in 1984.
Russia is the key ally of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who Turkey wants to see ousted.
Bilateral relations have also nose-dived after Turkey shot down a Russian war plane on the Syrian border on November 24.
Davutoglu said the "the YPG is clearly Russia's instrument in Syria right now," the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
"Everyone must see this. Today the PKK in Turkey and YPG in Syria are clearly instruments of Russia," he said.
"Russia is using those tools to be able to corner Turkey. Therefore, our stance has a legitimate ground."
Turkey's opposition to the YPG and its political arm the Democratic Union Party (PYD) is also straining relations with the United States which supports the Syrian Kurds as effective fighters on the ground against the ISIL.Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Şubat 2016, 12:58