USA criticizes Turkey strikes on Kurd militia in Syria

03 November, 2018, 04:51 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • A Turkish armored personnel carrier is struck by a missile on Wednesday

"The joint patrols of Turkish and USA troops - on which we have made plans and completed training and which we said would start - began at 3.53 p.m. local time [1353GMT]", Hulusi Akar said to the Turkish Parliament.

US President Donald Trump spoke on Thursday with Erdogan, with the Turkish leader's office saying both sides had stressed their determination to strengthen ties.

The United States-led Coalition against the Islamic State (IS) on Thursday confirmed the start of joint Turkish-American patrols near Manbij.

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the US focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region, which is in the northeast of northern Syria's Aleppo province.

Ankara considers the YPG to be a "terrorist offshoot" of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a bloody insurgency in Turkey since 1984 with the goal of forming an independent Kurdish state.

The patrol took place around the Sajur River that divides Manbij and the region of Jarabulus, which was captured by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels from the Islamic State group in 2016 during Ankara's first offensive in northern Syria.

The Turkish military said in a statement on Wednesday that a border command post in Sanliurfa province came under "harassment fire" from Kurdish "terrorist organization" forces, resulting in one military vehicle being destroyed.

Earlier this year, the Turkish military conducted an offensive against the Kurdish militia in Syria's northern border region of Afrin.

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The possibility of Turkish forces advancing into Kurdish-held areas of Syria hinges upon a USA response, al-Omar said, before adding that it is "currently not in the interest of the U.S. to abandon their strategic partners". "We can come suddenly any night", he said.

Part of the roadmap calls for joint US-Turkish patrols near Manbij, which Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday would begin any day.

Earlier this year, Turkey and the USA agreed the YPG would withdraw from Manbij.

Despite the tension that would grow with the United States, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that his country had finalized plans for a "comprehensive and effective" operation that would target the US -backed Kurdish groups in the east of the Euphrates River.

Turkey has been firing across the border for five days in preparation for what President Tayyip Erdogan says will be an offensive soon to crush the Kurdish forces along the breadth of the Turkish frontier.

"The joint patrols of Turkish and United States troops on which we have made plans and completed training and which we said would start, began at 1353GMT", Hulusi Akar said at the Turkish Parliament.

People's Protection Units (YPG) spokesman Nuri Mahmoud told The National that they are ready to intercept any attempt by Turkey to cross into the Kobani canton, east of the Euphrates River. Erdogan has dismissed the Pentagon's concern that the military drive could compromise the battle against ISIS in eastern Syria, where the Kurdish force is a key combatant.

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