Turkey operation in Afrin, Syria to be supported by rebels - Erdogan

Plumes of smoke rise on the air from inside Syria as seen from the outskirts of the border town of Kilis Turkey Saturday Jan. 20 2018

The US-led coalition said Turkey had nothing to fear from a border force in northern Syria.

"That is not what we're doing".

On Jan. 14, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that cooperation of the U.S. with PYD and YPG contradicts Washington's commitments and statements made earlier, and threatens the national security of Turkey.

"We are not operating in Afrin".

Stoltenberg added that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was not consulted on the matter of creating the army, and that it was an issue for the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants on the ground in Syria, which includes dozens of countries.

"Operating under recognized worldwide authorities, the US military will continue to support local partner forces in Syria to stabilize liberated territory", said Marine Maj.

The Kurdish militia, which forms the backbone of the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, controls almost 25 percent of Syrian territory. They were hostile to each other, but never fought against each other, barring some isolated incidents. "Turkey has reached the limits of its patience".

He stressed that the YPG is an extension of the PKK and called for the U.S. to "return from its mistake" in supporting the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Saying that the force would represent "an army of terrorists", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to wage war on Syria's Kurds.

The global coalition said that the goal of this force is to prevent the return of ISIS, but Erdogan threatened to "destroy this terrorist army in its infancy", fearing that it will become a permanent force stationed at the Turkish border.

"We can not repeat the mistake of 2011, where a premature departure from Iraq allowed al-Qaida in Iraq to survive and eventually become ISIS", Tillerson said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

The U.S. -led coalition against IS had issued a written statement and confirmed it will set up a 30,000-strong new border security force with the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

For instance, Tillerson says that "our expectation is that the desire for a return to normal life ... will help rally the Syrian people and individuals within the regime to compel Assad to step down". He indicated that US forces, now numbering more than 2,000, would remain there for the forseeable future.

If Ankara attacks the border force, that would raise tensions between the USA and Turkey further.

Turkey views the Kurdish YPG as a terrorist group and an extension of the PKK.

Also on Wednesday, the Pentagon said that the controversial new force was not a new "army" or conventional "border guard" force. "The training is created to enhance security for displaced persons returning to their devastated communities", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in a written statement.

In 2016, the Turkish military supported a Syrian rebel offensive that drove IS militants out of the key towns of Jarablus and al-Bab and stopped SDF fighters moving westwards towards Afrin.

He said it was crucial for the U.S.to maintain a military presence to prevent an Islamic State resurgence and avoid the "mistakes" of Iraq.

Russian Federation and Turkey, along with the government in Damascus, have also criticized the US/Kurdish plan.



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