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Turkey urges U.S. to withdraw support for Syrian Kurdish militia

Turkey called on the United States to halt support for a Syrian Kurdish militia on Tuesday after an escalation in retaliatory strikes along the border which prompted Washington to warn against military action that would destabilise Syria.

The comments came as Turkish artillery kept up bombardment of Kurdish bases and other targets near Tal Rifaat and Kobani, two Syrian military sources told Reuters.

Moscow, which is allied with Damascus, also called on Turkey to show restraint in its use of “excessive” military force in Syria and keep tension from escalating, Russian news agencies cited a Russian envoy to Syria as saying.

Turkey said the Syrian Kurdish YPG killed two people in mortar attacks on Monday, following Turkish air operations against the militia at the weekend and a deadly bomb attack in Istanbul a week earlier.

The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said 15 civilians and fighters were killed in Turkish strikes in recent days.

The Turkish Defence Minister vowed to keep up operations against the militants, renewing calls for NATO ally Washington to stop backing forces in Syria that Ankara calls a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said operations would not be limited to an air campaign and may involve ground forces. Turkey has mounted several major military operations against the YPG and Islamic State militants in northern Syria in recent years.

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