Erdogan: NATO must take stance against USA over border force

Lucy Bush
January 18, 2018

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said relations between Turkey and the U.S. would be "irreversibly harmed" if Washington moves to form a 30,000-strong army in the north of Syria.

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) said that the world will bear responsibility for those living in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria should Turkey decide to attack, the AP said. Turkish President Recep Tayyp Erdoğan has vowed to "strangle it before it's even born".

"The Afrin crisis shows how hard it is for US policymakers to walk and chew gum when it comes to Syria", he said.

Tillerson said of Turkey, "We understand why they reacted the way they did".

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also vowed to crush the new border force and drive US troops from Syria, while Russian Federation charged that the plan showed the United States intends to partition Syria by allowing Kurdish forces to consolidate their hold on the approximately 25 percent of Syrian territory they now control after liberating it from IS.

"We condemn this erroneous decision and we would like to remind once again that Turkey reserves the right to eliminate any kind of threat", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Although the United States has also deemed the PKK to be a terrorist organization, it has provided support to the Syrian Kurdish groups in their fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Kurdish forces have not fought the Syrian government much, mainly policing their territory and fighting the Islamic State, although they may later have to choose between fighting government forces and losing their de facto autonomy.

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One recent development appears to have brought forward Turkey's plans to clear YPG fighters from Afrin and Manbij.

Erdogan has said the state of emergency will remain as long as security threats persist. "But the U.S. knows that the creation of an actual territorial state run by the Kurds would result in a Turkish invasion, so it will not allow it to go that far".

"We are keenly aware of the security concerns of Turkey, our Coalition partner and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally".

Turkey on Thursday described as far from satisfactory United States assurances playing down plans to create a border force in northern Syria made up of Kurdish militia forces deemed as "terrorists" by Ankara. It said however that the alliance did not have a presence on the ground in Syria and that the matter was an issue for the us -led anti-IS coalition, which includes dozens of countries.

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The U.S. -led coalition is now training Syrian militias and plans to establish a new border force together with the Kurdish-led opposition fighters, consisting of 30,000 personnel over the next several years, according to the coalition.

As the council met, a Reuters reporter witnessed the Turkish army deploying nine tanks to a military base just outside the city of Hatay, near the border with Afrin, to the west of the area where the border force is planned.

"As the Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop levels in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists", Bush said in a November 2005 speech.

Erdogan said the imminent military operation is to "purge terror" from near its borders. A spokeswoman for the UN's refugee agency told the BBC that they had not yet received reports of people leaving Afrin, but that it was prepared to help if needed.

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Cavusoglu said different opinions among the Pentagon and Centcom as well as different institutions and ministries in the USA regarding support for the SDF and the PYD/PKK have been causing the problem.

Other reports by Info About Network

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