Turkey threatens further strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds

Kari Scott
May 1, 2017

"We are seriously concerned to see USA flags in a convoy that has YPG rags on it", Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Erdogan as saying prior to him departing on a flight to India on Sunday.

This Friday, April 28, 2017 still taken from video, shows USA forces patrolling on a rural road in the village of Darbasiyah, in northern Syria.

"With the U.S. -Kurdish pact consolidating, not weakening, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, has reverted to claiming that the burgeoning alliance could end up empowering a Kurdish push for autonomy, and stoke the fires of insurgency inside Turkey's own borders".

But the United States is concerned that Turkey's military operations in Syria are more focused on preventing Syrian Kurds from forming an autonomous region in northern Syria, along Turkey's border, which could embolden Turkey's own Kurdish minority.

The US views the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces as the most effective partner to counter the Islamic State group in northern Syria, an assessment bolstered by the SDF's steady advances against the jihadists.

The relocation comes a day after USA troops were seen patrolling the tense border in Syria.

Kurdish officials described the US troop movement as a "buffer" between them and Turkey. "We can turn up abruptly one night", he said, repeating a line from a well-known Turkish song.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in its latest report on the Syria crisis that the U.S. had "a singular dilemma" on the future of its relationship with the YPG.

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Both the Peshmerga and the YPG are a crucial part of the US-backed attempt to liberate Raqqa, the largest IS-held city on Syrian soil.

Khalil said his forces were not building up in the area. The base is 30 miles from Syria's Tal Abyad, a town controlled by the Kurdish militia.

Turkish warplanes pounded Tuesday positions of the PKK and its Syrian-affiliate Democratic Union Party's (PYD) armed wing People Protection Units (YPG) on Sinjar Mountain in Iraq and Karachok Mountain in Syria for the first time.

As noted above, the U.S. intervention is meant to send a "a message of reassurance for the Kurds and nearly a warning message" to the Turks, he said.

After the Turkish attack, the US sent military vehicles with American flags to the Syrian side to patrol with YPG fighters, apparently to prevent further clashes. Turkey said 70 PKK militants were killed in the strikes, as reported by Reuters.

The Kurdish group in Syria said 20 of its fighters and media activists were killed in the strike, which was followed by cross-border clashes between the two sides. Kurdish officials describe United States troop movement as "buffer" between them and Turkey.

Syrian ally Russian Federation has called for an worldwide investigation into the April 4 attack that killed almost 90 people.

"Unfortunately... the presence of an American flag along with the (insignia) of a terror organisation called YPG in a convoy has seriously saddened us", Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul before heading on a trip to India.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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