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Turkey shells IS, Kurdish positions in northern Syria Open in fullscreen

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Turkey shells IS, Kurdish positions in northern Syria

Hundreds of Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters have recently gathered on the Turkish border [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 August, 2016

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Turkey shelled IS positions in northern Syria on Tuesday, as well as US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces as Ankara steps up its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Turkey shelled Islamic State group [IS] positions in Syria on Tuesday, as well as US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces as Ankara steps up its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Two mortar rounds hit the southeastern Turkish town of Karkamis, across the border from the IS-held Syrian town of Jarabulus, Turkish media reported.

In response, Turkish artillery hit four IS positions in the border town of Jarabulus with around 60 shells.

Hundreds of Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters have recently gathered in the Turkish border area of Karkamis in preparation for an attack on Jarabulus, which has been used as the main IS transit point for fighters, money and weapons.

Turkey has increased security measures at its border opposite Jarabulus, deploying tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

Turkish artillery on Monday also attacked the US-backed Arab-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] north of the town of Manbij, which the Kurdish-led force recently captured from IS.

The SDF has advanced on Jarabulus and is stationed two kilometres east of the town - a move that has angered Ankara as it is concerned about the growing power of Syrian Kurdish forces, who are linked to groups waging an insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

     
      [Click to enlarge]

The SDF is dominated by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD], which is seen by Ankara as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK].

An unnamed official told Turkish media that the Kurdish force's presence near Jarabulus was "unacceptable."

He also said that US-led anti-IS coalition forces were informed about the Turkish strike on Kurdish targets in Manbij.

Kurdish fighters on Monday captured the central prison in the northeastern city of Hassakeh after fierce clashes with Syrian regime forces and are in control of 90 percent of the city.

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