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US, Russia mum as Turkey escalates attacks against Kurdish groups in Syria, Iraq

Both the White House and the State Department remain silent as Turkey's military campaign against the PKK continues "full blast."
Relatives mourn over the caskets of 11 people killed in Turkish airstrikes.

Turkey’s military campaign against alleged Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in Syria and Iraq is continuing full blast with at least four fighters of the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and four others from the outlawed PKK killed in drone strikes in northeast Syria and Kurdish-administered northern Iraq, Kurdish-led armed groups and Iraqi Kurdish security officials said. The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in North and Northeast Syria on Sunday denounced Russia and the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat the Islamic State (IS) in a statement over their silence in the face of the attacks.

The assaults continued throughout the weekend when three civilians were injured as a result of Turkish shelling that targeted a village located south of Tell Tamar in northeast Syria, Kurdish media reported. That attack came after Turkish forces carried out 40 artillery strikes against the Kurdish majority enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, which was occupied by Turkey in 2018, Kurdish media said. The claims could not be independently verified; however, a low-intensity conflict between the SDF and Turkish-allied groups has been bubbling since Turkey’s wresting of Afrin from the Syrian Kurds. Dozens of civilians, including women and children, have perished in Turkish drone and air strikes, as previously documented by Al-Monitor

The United States and Russia are guarantors of separate cease-fire agreements struck in the wake of Turkey’s 2019 Operation Peace Spring in which it occupied large chunks of SDF-controlled territory and permanently displaced over 200,000 civilians who continue to languish in ramshackle camps. Both wish to pull Turkey to their side as Russia’s war on Ukraine rages on. They have, in turn, grown even more hesitant to rebuke Ankara over its aggression toward PKK-linked Kurdish groups, least of all as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to weigh granting final approval to Sweden’s accession to NATO and despite the fact that Washington rejects Turkey’s characterization of the SDF as “terrorists."

Salih Muslim, co-chair of the Democratic Unity Party that shares power in the Autonomous Administration, said they had no contact with either Russia or the Syrian regime and that “our allies in the coalition say there is nothing they can do to stop Turkey’s attacks.”

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