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A file picture of Diyarbakir International Airport

Rockets Fired At Civilian Airport In Turkey

WT24 Desk

Suspected Kurdish militants have fired four rockets at Diyarbakir Airport in southeast Turkey, according to reports.Passengers and airport staff were taken inside the airport’s terminal building for their safety, Dogan news agency said.

The target was a police checkpoint outside the VIP lounge, the agency added, and broadcaster NTV said the rockets landed on wasteland nearby.

There were no casualties and Diyarbakir governor Huseyin Aksoy said there was no disruption to flights. Diyarbakir is home to a large Kurdish population, in a region where Kurdish militants have waged an insurgency for more than 30 years.

It comes after a day in which rebels supported by Turkey and Turkish forces fought Kurdish-backed forces in northern Syria, just to the south of Diyarbakir.Turkish security sources said two of their F-16 jets bombed a site controlled by the Kurdish YPG fighters, without saying where it was.

A group allied to the Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes the YPG, said its positions were bombarded by Turkish warplanes near Jarablus. Meanwhile, on the ground, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels battled rebels aligned to the SDF near Jarablus.

A Kurdish-led self-proclaimed government of northern Syria said Turkish tanks were deployed, but Turkey’s rebel allies denied the charge. Later, one Turkish soldier was killed and three wounded when a tank was hit by rocket fire, which Turkey said came from a YPG controlled area.

Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes crossed the border into Syria last week to join Syrian rebels as part of a drive to remove Islamic State militants from Jarablus.

But, as the Turks and their allies have consolidated their positions, some have raised concerns that the push into Jarablus would be used as a bridgehead to take on Kurdish-allied forces that have occupied positions in northern Syria.

Also on Saturday, the YPG said Turkey’s military had fired on a village near Kobani on Friday night (about 20 miles or 30km east of Jarablus), and had also used heavy weapons to fire on YPG positions in the northwestern province of Afrin (about 65 miles or 100km west of Jarablus).

Turkey wants to stop Kurdish forces taking control of a line of territory along its southern border, fearing it could be used to support Kurdish militant group PKK.  Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have already seized five villages near Jarablus from Islamic State.

The SDF and YPG are backed by the United States, putting Ankara at odds with its NATO ally. The Jarablus Military Council, which is part of the SDF, called the airstrikes “a dangerous escalation”, and said the Turkish warplanes had caused civilian casualties.

A spokesman for the council said: “Turkish jets have this morning bombarded our positions in southern Jarablus and the Til-Emarne village. With this aggression, a new conflict period will begin in the region.”

Turkey said it had destroyed an arsenal and command post belonging to “terror groups”.

Ankara has previously warned the YPG has failed to stick to a US promise that the militia would withdraw to positions east of the Euphrates river following the seizure of the town of Manbij from IS earlier this month.

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