Turkish troops fired across the Syrian border on Tuesday, killing a member of a Kurdish militia and wounding two others in the first such fatal shooting at the Turkish frontier, a watchdog reported.
“The three Kurds, members of a Kurdish militia hostile to the Damascus regime but also wary of the rebellion, were patrolling the border in (Syria’s) Hasaka province when they were hit by Turkish army fire from the other side,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
“This was the first fatal shooting at the Turkish border,” he added.
The incident occurred in in the Derbassiyeh region of the northwest province of Hasaka, according to the Britain-based Observatory.
The monitoring group said that the Kurds were members of the YPG, or “units for the protection of the people,” a militia close to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Ankara has accused the group of being a front for the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which the United States has warned should be denied a safe haven in the region.
Members of Syria’s more than two million Kurdish minority have largely stayed out of the conflict roiling the country but many participated in anti-regime protests that erupted in March last year.
They have also distanced themselves from the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, fuelling suspicions among some of collusion with the regime.
Ankara has accused its former ally Damascus of granting swathes of territory in northern Syria, including on the border, to the PYD as a buffer zone.
Despite distrust between the traditional Kurdish parties in Syria, they signed an agreement in July to unify their ranks.