Turkish soldiers return fire on Syrian Kurdish militia: military officials

Turkey's branding of PYD and YPG as terrorist groups have put it at odds with Washington, which sees the YPG as a valuable and effective ally in its fight against Islamic State in Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed to intensify efforts to convince warring parties in Syria on a cease-fire in Aleppo.

The offensive continues, and Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said Turkish forces might push deeper into Syria after securing a stretch of land along the border.

"Obama wants to do some things jointly concerning Raqqa", Mr Erdogan said.

"I said there would be no problem from our perspective".

Turkey used to provide sections of northern Syria with electricity until October 2012 under a deal with Bashar al-Assad's government in Damascus.

IS rapidly infiltrated the city, which is strategically located near the Turkish border, and declared a caliphate in 2014.

Mr Erdogan said US President Barack Obama floated the idea of joint action against the militants when they met at the G20 summit in China.

Turkey launched an unprecedented operation inside Syria on August 24, sending tanks and special troops to back Syrian opposition rebels in a bid to remove IS jihadists from the entire border area.

Canikli said that a 772 square kilometre (300 square mile) area had been cleared from IS fighters and was now under control of pro-Ankara fighters.

On Aug. 27, one Tourkish soldier was killed and three others injured when the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) attacked their tanks.

Four days later, the Turkish army suffered its first fatality in northern Syria, in a rocket attack blamed on Kurdish militia. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Turkish-Kurdish rebel group fighting for autonomy in Turkey since the 1980s.

"But at this stage we have to show our presence in the region. If we take a backward step terror groups like Daesh, PKK, PYD and YPG will settle there", he said.

"Turkey will not allow YPG forces to extend their territory and gain power by using the Daesh operations as an excuse", he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

  • Jon Douglas