Published: Fri, December 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Turkey says to launch new operation against Syria Kurd militia within days

Turkey says to launch new operation against Syria Kurd militia within days

Elizabeth Teoman, analyst at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), said Erdogan may be threatening the attacks "to compel a change in USA policy regarding the United States observation posts along the Syrian-Turkish border".

In an informal session with Pentagon reporters last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis rejected Turkey's charges that the YPG was allied with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), which has been labeled a terrorist organization by Turkey and the U.S.

The Turkish currency has been among the world's worst performers this year, partly due to escalating tensions with the US on a range of issues, from Syria policy and Erdogan's growing ties with Russian Federation to Turkey's detention of an American pastor.

Turkey has for years criticized the United States' support for the groups and said it's grown increasingly concerned about observation posts along Syria's border with Turkey.

"Unilateral military action into northeast Syria by any party, particularly as US personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern", Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

"We would find any such actions unacceptable", he said in a statement.

Robertson said the USA -led coalition is working closely with the YPG/PKK-led SDF group, which he said is "in the midst of offensive operations against ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley", using another name for Daesh.

-Turkish interests in security in Syria.

"We have made our warnings and completed our preparations", Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.

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"This step will allow for the path to a political solution to be opened and for healthier cooperation", Erdogan added.

The US, which may have military personnel present in the area or nearby, said their planned action is of "grave concern".

US troops also recently began running joint patrols with the Turkish military in Manbij, a flashpoint town that Turkey claims harbors elements of the YPG (People's Protection Units). "Coalition forces are working closely with the Syrian Democratic Forces who are in the midst of offensive operations against ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley", Robertson, the Pentagon spokesman said.

The Pentagon on Tuesday announced the posts' establishment on the northeast Syria border region despite calls from Ankara not to go ahead with the move.

"At the direction of Secretary (James) Mattis, the U.S. established observation posts in the northeast Syria border region to address the security concerns of our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey", Department of Defense spokesman Rob Manning said in a press release on Tuesday.

Three observation posts have now been set up, a U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday. The United States has been informed.

Pointing out that Ankara has been using all diplomatic means to end Washington's help to the YPG, Oktay warned that if the diplomatic efforts fail, "Turkey is fully prepared for any operation in the area". An SDF military source said Jeffrey met the SDF leadership in northern Syria on Wednesday. USA troops are deployed with the Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria, in part to prevent clashes with Turkey.

"The time has come to carry out our intention to neutralize terrorists in the east of the Euphrates".

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