Turkey Says Military Returned Fire Against Syrian Kurds
Turkey's military said Wednesday its forces destroyed Syrian Kurdish targets overnight in retaliation for artillery fire against Turkish-backed forces in northern Syria.
A Turkish army statement said the clashes happened in the Afrin area.
The Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, are a key part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and in particular the ongoing fight to defeat Islamic State militants in the group's de facto capital of Raqqa.
But Turkey strongly opposes the Kurdish fighters, seeing them as linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, that has been waging an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.
U.S. support for the YPG includes weapons deliveries that Turkey fears will end up in the hands of PKK fighters.
The Turkish government has said U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave reassurances that the United States would take back those weapons after Raqqa falls, but Mattis indicated Tuesday that U.S. support for the YPG would continue.
"We'll do what we can," Mattis told reporters traveling with him. But he said the weapons provided to the YPG will depend on the what the next mission is.
"When they don't need certain things anymore, we'll replace those with something they do need," Mattis said.
The U.S. defense chief is due to meet Thursday with his Turkish counterpart during a NATO meeting in Brussels.
Maduro: Police Helicopter Fired On Supreme Court
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said a stolen police helicopter fired on the country's Interior Ministry and Supreme Court on Tuesday in what he called a "terrorist attack" by those seeking to oust him from office.
Maduro vowed to catch those behind the attack, which had no reported injuries.
Minister of Communications and Information Ernesto Villegas later said the helicopter fired 15 shots at the ministry building and dropped at least four grenades at the Supreme Court.
Villegas identified the pilot as Oscar Perez. A video posted on social media showed Perez standing in front of several armed men and calling for a rebellion against Maduro's "tyranny," urging the president to step down and for Venezuela to hold new elections.
Some Maduro opponents speculated on social media that Tuesday's attack was staged to justify a crackdown.
Venezuela is one month from a vote on Maduro's plans to rewrite the constitution, which the president says is the only way to bring peace to the country while those opposing the move say it is meant to keep his party in power.