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US-Backed Syrian-Kurdish Fighters Destroy Turkish Military Vehicle

© REUTERS / Goran TomasevicA Kurdish fighter from the People's Protection Units (YPG) looks at a smoke after an coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Syria June 16, 2017
A Kurdish fighter from the People's Protection Units (YPG) looks at a smoke after an coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Syria June 16, 2017 - Sputnik International
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US-aligned Kurdish fighters in Syria have released several videos of their destruction of a Turkish military vehicle with a guided anti-tank missile during a skirmish between the rival militaries.

The footage depicted fighters with Jaysh al-Thuwar (Arabic for "Army of Revolutionaries") facing off with Turkish soldiers, with one fighter firing what is either a US BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile or an Iranian Typhoon anti-tank guided missile at a Turkish tractor.

The footage was subsequently uploaded to the Facebook page of Jabhat al-Akrad ("Kurdish Front"). Kurdish Front is a subfaction of the Army of Revolutionaries, which is in turn a member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) supported by the Americans. It's unclear when the event actually occurred. 

Earlier this month, a video surfaced showing YPG fighters destroying another Turkish tank operated by rebel groups. 

The bulk of SDF fighters are Kurds aligned with the People's Protection Units (YPG). Ankara claims that the YPG are a terrorist group, and a branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish independence movement based in Turkey (and outlawed there). Both Turkey and the US consider the PKK to be a terrorist group, but the US denies any connection between the PKK and the YPG.

Moving to distance themselves from the incident, Col. Joseph Scrocca, a US military spokesman, told Military Times that the Army of Revolutionaries is a part of the SDF coalition but they receive no specific support from the United States. 

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters walk with their weapons, north of Raqqa city, Syria November 6, 2016. - Sputnik International
Syrian Democratic Forces and Kurdish YPG Surround Raqqa

Kurdish Front, on the other hand, is directly supported by Washington.

The previous video was posted on August 5 and shows YPG fighters destroying a tank operated by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels. In April, the two sides exchanged rocket fire, which the Turks claim killed 11 YPG fighters.

After several months of uneasy coexistence in northern Syria, the SDF and Turkish armed forces have begun to skirmish. The United States, a NATO ally of Turkey and a supplier of weapons to both sides (naturally), continues to try to play peacemaker between its two nominal allies. However, intermittent violence continues along the Syrian-Turkish border.

A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter walks through a damaged street in the town of Tabqa, after SDF captured it from Islamic State militants this week, in Raqqa, Syria May 12, 2017 - Sputnik International
Turkey Reproaches US Over Arming Kurdish YPG in Syria

Ankara, which has long protested American involvement with the YPG, has begun to court other allies as the Syrian Civil War enters its final stages. Earlier in August, Turkey inked a deal to purchase a $2.5 billion S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile defense system from Russia. The deal came as a stated attempt to repair relations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia and Turkey have been at odds since the Turks shot down one of Moscow's fighter jets in November 2015, killing the pilot.

Also in August, Iran's most senior military official, General Mohammad Baqeri, met with Erdogan and other Turkish leaders. Erdogan announced that he was considering "joint action" alongside Iran against their mutual enemy, the Kurds.

Later that month, US Defense Secretary James Mattis will visit Turkey and attempt to revive the flagging relationship.

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