- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

BEIRUT (AP) — Turkey’s deputy prime minister on Thursday said his country is “displeased” with the support the United States provides Syrian Kurdish fighters who are linked to Turkey’s Kurdish rebels.

Numan Kurtulmus also said Thursday that Ankara hopes that the new U.S. president will keep his or her distance from the militia and strive to maintain good ties with NATO ally Turkey.

Kurtulmus told reporters: “Whoever comes next to the U.S. presidency” understands the importance of maintaining ties with “a key regional country like Turkey and not an armed terrorist organization with a few thousand militants.”

Ankara views the Syrian Kurdish militia and its political wing as an extension of Turkey’s own banned Kurdish independence movement.

A senior commander of the main Syrian Kurdish militia said Turkish jets and artillery are still attacking his forces north of the embattled city of Aleppo, but said no more than 10 fighters have been killed so far.

Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Thursday as many as 200 militia members were killed in air raids on targets in Aleppo province where the Kurdish-led forces have been advancing for days against Islamic State militants.

Commander Mahmoud Barkhadan of the People’s Protection Unit says Turkish tanks have been shelling the Kurdish-led forces in the area since early Wednesday. Barkhadan says jets joined the attack Wednesday night and continued to pound his forces in the area. He says early reports suggest no more than 10 fighters have been killed and 20 wounded. There was no word on civilian casualties yet.

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