Middle East Eye reports: Turkey is backing a new Kurdish faction within the Free Syrian Army to take back territory from the Islamic State (IS) group and stop the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from seizing further ground along the Turkish border.
The group, known as the Grandsons of Salahadin after the famed 12th-century Muslim Kurdish leader, has already captured several villages in the IS-controlled border region between Jarabulus and Azaz following Turkish artillery attacks and missile strikes. In response, IS hit the Turkish town of Kilis earlier this month, killing two civilians.
But threats to attack the YPG unless it withdraws from territory seized from opposition rebels during an advance by pro-government forces in northern Syria last month have stoked concerns of a possible “Kurdish civil war”.
Mahmoud Abu Hamza, a Grandsons of Salahadin commander based in Turkey, told Middle East Eye that the group was backed by both the US and Turkey and considered itself part of the international coalition fighting IS.
“Turkey doesn’t support us with arms. Our arms are American,” he said. [Continue reading…]