Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on August 25 shelled Syrian Democratic Forces positions in Amarinah, north of Manbij, as the group advanced towards the Syrian border town of Jarablus.
Turkish media claimed the military was targeting Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters, who make up the vast majority of the US-backed SDF, as part of its Operation Euphrates Shield incursion into northern Syria.
Turkey views the YPG and the Kurdish PYD political party as Syrian branches of the Turkish Kurdish PKK which has waged a three-decade long war against the Turkish state. It does not make a distinction between the PYD and YPG.
Anonymous Turkish security sources told Anadolu Agency that the TSK had warned the YPG not to cross the Sajur River, which flows in the territory between SDF-held Manbij and Turkey-held Jarablus. The sources said that the forces shelled were Kurdish fighters under the SDF banner.
Northern Aleppo – 25/08/2016 | Fixed version
— Syrian Civil War Map (@CivilWarMap) August 25, 2016
Earlier on August 25, clashes were reported in Amarinah between the SDF and Turkey-backed FSA fighters who make up the bulk of the forces in Euphrates Shield.
The SDF captured several villages including Amarinah in an advance north of the river after the launch of Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24.
US Secretary of State John Kerry told Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that YPG fighters were retreating to the east side of the Euphrates in an August 25 phonecall, Reuters reported.
In a statement on August 25, the YPG said its fighters had already returned to bases east of the Euphrates, and that the movement had begun on August 15 and that control of territory had been handed over to Manbij Military Council and Jarablus Military Council.
This was confirmed on Twitter by Col John L. Dorrian, spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.