Turkey denies reports of troops entering Syria

Ankara, Feb 15 (IANS) Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz has denied Syria’s claim that about 100 Turkish troops had entered Syria, the media reported on Monday.

“It is not true,” Yilmaz told lawmakers in Ankara during a parliamentary budget meeting on Sunday shortly after the Syrian government made the claim.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has sent a letter of protest to the UN Security Council over the alleged move, Xinhua reported.

In a related development, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on Sunday about the situation in Syria, the prime minister’s office said.

The phone conversation came in the wake of Turkey shelling positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.

The Turkish artillery continued to shell Kurdish areas in northern Syria for the second straight day on Sunday, killing and injuring nine fighters of a Kurdish group, a monitor group reported.

Two fighters with the Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Force, a new rebel alliance comprising of Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters and supported by the West, were killed and seven wounded by the Turkish shelling that targeted YPG positions in Aleppo, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Turkish officials have repeatedly said that they will not allow the Kurds in Syria to expand more near the Turkish border.

The latest escalation also came as talk about a ground intervention by Saudi and Turkish troops in Syria made headlines in recent days.

Observers say such an intervention will spark even more chaos in the war-torn country.

Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said any foreign troops entering the country without the consent of the government “will be sent home in wooden coffins.”

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