- - Monday, February 8, 2016

Russian air strikes have allowed Kurdish guerilla groups in northern Syria to gain territory, a move that is sure to anger Turkey, just across the border. After the Turkish air force shot down a Russian plane operating in the area late last year, Russia has shown no qualms about assisting Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to gain ground against anti-Assad forces.

RUDAW reports the YPG units have made advances at the expense of Syrian opposition groups in the country’s north amidst continued Russian aerial bombardments being carried out in support of a major Syrian offensive aimed at routing out the rebels from that important part of the country

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, fighters opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad abandoned the villages of Aqlamiyah, Deir Jamal and Mareanar on Sunday due to their fears of being bombed. The YPG moved into these areas once the Syrian opposition had left. This in addition to three other towns several days ago that the Syrian opposition vacated.

Turkish President Erdogan lashed out at the United States today, saying America should choose between Turkey or the ‘terrorists,’ speaking of Kurds along the Turkish border. ABC News reported, the statement came after envoy Brett McGurk’s visit to Kobani, where the PYD’s military wing, aided by U.S.-led airstrikes, drove back Islamic State militants a year ago. Turkey considers the PYD a terrorist group because of its affiliation with Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Erdogan said: “How can we trust you? Is it me that is your partner or is it the terrorists in Kobani?”

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