Turkey's shelling of Syrian Kurds makes the war even more confusing

Media outlets covering the Syrian civil war need to start publishing a scorecard so we can all keep track of who's fighting whom and who's allied with whom – except when they aren't.

Take the nation of Turkey.  Ankara recently began a bombing campaign of Islamic State and Syrian army targets.  They also have begun military action against the PPK and other Kurdish groups in Iraq and northern Turkey.

Yesterday, Turkey shelled two Kurdish villages, wounding four members of the YPG – Kurds who are allied with the U.S. and opposing the Islamic State in Syria.  And if you think that's confusing, it gets much worse.

Yahoo News:

With its warplanes hitting Kurdish targets in neighbouring northern Iraq again on Sunday, Turkey also called an extraordinary NATO meeting for Tuesday over its cross-border "anti-terror" offensive against Kurdish separatists and Islamic State jihadists.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg defended Turkey's right to defend itself but told the BBC "of course self-defence has to be proportionate".

And he cautioned Turkey about burning bridges with the Kurds. "ForTurkish tanks shelled Kurdish-held villages in northern Syria as Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Monday that a military campaign by Ankara could "change the balance" in the region. years there has been progress to try to find a peaceful political solution," he told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. "It is important not to renounce that... because force will never solve the conflict in the long term."

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) -- which pushed IS out of the Syrian flashpoint of Kobane early this year with the help of Western air strikes -- said Turkish tanks hit its positions and those of allied Arab rebels in the village of Zur Maghar in Aleppo province.

The "heavy tank fire" wounded four members of the allied rebel force and several villagers, the YPG -- which Turkey accuses of being allied to its outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) -- said in a statement.

It said there was later a second round of shelling against Zur Maghar and another village in the same area.
The tank fire was also reported by activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
But Turkish officials denied the military was deliberately targeting Syrian Kurds said it was responding to fire from the Syrian side of the border.
"The bombing of the village is out of the question," a foreign ministry official told AFP. "Turkey has its rules of engagement. If there's fire from the Syrian side, it will be retaliated in kind."
Zur Maghar is on Turkish border, east of the town of Jarabulus, which is held by IS.

"Instead of targeting IS terrorist occupied positions, Turkish forces attack our defenders' positions," the YPG added.

As the bombardments were going on Davutoglu told a group of Turkish newspaper editors that Turkey's intervention would "change the balance" in the region, but ruled out sending ground troops into Syria.

Balance?  What balance?  Consider:

Turkey is shelling Kurds in Syria who are allied with the U.S., the Free Syrian Army, and other less radical militias.  Turkey is opposed to Assad, the Islamic State, the Kurds, and al-Nusra, but supports the U.S. (who supports the Kurds).  Al-Nusra opposes IS (sometimes) and Assad (all the time) and is allied with the Free Syrian Army (sometimes).  But the U.S. opposes Al-Nusra, who fights with the FSA sometimes.

The U.S. supports Assad – except when we don't.  We want to arm and train the FSA – except when they are allied with al-Nusra. 

And Israel fights anyone – Syrian army, Hezb'allah, terrorists – who even sniffs at its border.

Sorry to give you a headache, but this is the mess that is the Syrian civil war.  How anyone is going to be able to sort this out to bring peace to the country is beyond understanding.

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