Kurdish forces kill 11 pro-Turkish Syrian fighters: Erdogan

Pro-Turkish Syrian fighters were killed in violation of ceasefire agreements

Tayyip-Erdogan-reuters Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan | Reuters

"This morning, 11 members of the Syrian National Army were martyred," turkey's President Erdogan told a press conference in Ankara, using the name for a Syrian militia fighting for Turkey.

The pro-Turkish Syrian fighters were killed Thursday by Kurdish forces in violation of ceasefire agreements aimed at creating a "safe zone" in northern Syria, Erdogan said.

"Of course, a bigger number died on the other side... When they attack the SNA or our soldiers, should we stay silent? Of course, we have to retaliate — more than retaliate," he added.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitor, said clashes had taken place near the Syrian border town of Ain Issa, without detailing casualties. Another war monitor reported that the clashes left 30 dead. Since Turkey started an offensive attack against Syria on October 9, 305 SDF fighters, 353 Turkey-backed rebels and 24 Syrian government troops have been killed.

Turkey's enmity with the Kurds dates to The Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, who, in its terror campaign against Turkey, that has been going on for more than 30 years, has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. 

The clash halted the offensive after two ceasefire accords— with Washington and Moscow — that called on the Kurdish People's Protection Units to abandon most of its positions in a 30-kilometre-deep stretch of territory along the Turkish border.

As Turkey sees SDF as separatists and terrorists and began its campaign against the Syrian fighters under the broader umbrella of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, known as YPG. Turkey justified the renewed fighting between the Kurdish militia and the Turkey-backed rebel group by saying that the Kurdish militia did not withdraw from certain areas near the Turkish border.

“Those who promised us the YPG would withdraw within 120 hours have not fulfilled this at this stage,” Erdogan said.