Turkey Threatens New Syria Operation as US Shunned at Summit

Turkey Threatens New Syria Operation as US Shunned at Summit

Turkey Threatens New Syria Operation as US Shunned at Summit

He doesn't believe the United States has given Turkey its "blessing" to attack Kobane because YPG fighters are very close to USA special forces.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised Tuesday that Turkey had plans to target US -backed Kurdish forces in Syria. The Kurdish-led People's Protection Units (YPG) operate under the umbrella of the SDF-a US-backed patchwork of armed groups formed in 2015 in order to oust the Islamic State (IS) from northeastern Syria.

Turkey considers the militia a terror threat and an extension of Kurdish rebels waging an insurgency within Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a day earlier vowed to "destroy" the YPG and said Ankara was determined to push Kurdish fighters back from the border area.

Kurdish news agency Hawar News reported that the joint patrols took place 19 kilometers from the city with three United States and three Turkish vehicles, starting from the village of Arab Hassan. "We have completed our preparations, plans, programmes regarding this issue", he told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party in parliament. The campaign against ISIS "is not over and that fight remains hard", he said.

Turkey sees Kurdish elements of the SDF as linked to the separatist group the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which the USA identifies as a terrorist group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, also said the patrols will begin Thursday adding that they follow days of Turkish shelling of positions of the main Kurdish militia.

The SDF responded on Wednesday with retaliatory artillery and machine gun fire, an SDF spokesperson told Syria Direct, resulting in the destruction of one Turkish military vehicle as well as a border post near Abu Salim, a village west of Kobane. The continuation of Turkish attacks, the group said, would further delay the offensive on the ISIS-held pocket of Hajin.

Turkish forces this week struck several Kurdish militia targets near the town of Kobani in northern Syria. The sides have conducted 68 independent patrols before the combined patrols started. Moreover, both fighters from the Manbij Military Council (MMC) and the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield forces were prevented from being present on the front line. In an effort to alleviate the situation, the US agreed to jointly control Manbij with Turkish forces, and Kurdish forces agreed to withdraw.

The US-led coalition fighting ISIS has conducted scores of air and artillery strikes in recent weeks as it has sought to drive ISIS from its last stronghold east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Akar as saying that despite promises that the YPG and other Kurdish militias "will be removed from Manbij, the terror organizations are digging trenches there like they did in Afrin".

Earlier this week, Erdogan increased threats to launch a major offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters near the Euphrates River.

The YPG "should know it will be buried in the trenches it has dug", Akar said.

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