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Turkey Vows Syria's Azaz Will Not Fall To Kurdish Militia

Turkey's prime minister says his country will not allow the Syrian town of Azaz to be captured by Syrian Kurdish militants.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on February 15 that "we will not let Azaz fall." He made the comments aboard his airplane en route to an official visit to Ukraine.

Turkey considers Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military arm, the YPG, to be affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers Party, which Ankara has branded a terrorist group.

Davutoglu said YPG fighters would have captured Azaz and the town of Tal Rifaat if the Turkish military had not intervened with artillery strikes.

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Turkish cross-border shelling of targets in Syria is "open support of terrorism" and a violation of a UN Security Council resolution. The ministry added that Ankara was assisting mercenaries and Islamist terrorists in entering Syria.

The Turkish military said on February 15 that one Turkish soldier was killed in a clash with a group of people trying to cross the border from Syria's Latakia region.

Based on reporting by TASS, AFP, and Reuters