DAMASCUS,— The Syrian government has called on the United Nations to force Turkey to pull “its invasion forces” out of Syria, state media said on Friday.
Turkey’s military shelled Syrian government forces and their allies in northern Syria on Thursday, causing deaths and injuries, state-run SANA news agency reported.
Turkey launched its first major military incursion into northern Syria on August 24, 2016, deploying tanks and air power in support of rebel groups of Free Syrian Army FSA opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey’s operation aims to stop the Kurdish YPG forces from extending areas under their control and connecting Syrian Kurdistan’s Kobani and Hasaka in the east with Afrin canton in the west and cleaning the border area from Islamic State..
Syria’s foreign ministry urged the U.N. secretary general and security council to “force Turkey to withdraw its invasion forces from Syrian land and stop the attacks”, SANA said.
The Syrian government blames Turkey for “killing tens of thousands of its innocent sons and destroying Syrian infrastructure”, it added.
Northern Syria has become an increasingly complex battlefield in the multi-sided war, with the Russian-backed Syrian army, Turkish-backed rebels and U.S.-backed militias all waging separate campaigns against Islamic State.
Ankara is particularly concerned about the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia which it considers to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has fought a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey.
Turkey fears the creation of an autonomous Kurdish region in Syrian Kurdistan — similar to the Kurdish region in Iraqi Kurdistan — would spur the separatist ambitions of Turkey’s own Kurds.
Syrian Kurdistan’s ruling PYD party has established three autonomous zones, or Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan in 2013. On March 17, 2016 Syria’s Kurds declared a federal region in Syrian Kurdistan. On Dec. 30, 2016 Syrian Kurds approved a blueprint for a system of federal government in Syrian Kurdistan, reaffirming their plans for autonomy in areas they have controlled during the civil war.