The Turks are planning to target Kurdish militia fighters in the region within days. The US, which may have military personnel present in the area or nearby, said their planned action is of “grave concern”. Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said the US was committed to Turkey’s border security but the fight against ISIS was not over.
He added the Syrian Democratic Forces remained a “committed partner” against the militant group.
The SDF is an alliance of Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian/Syriac militias.
Commander Robertson: “Unilateral military action into northeast Syria by any party, particularly as US personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern.
“We would find any such actions unacceptable.”
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On Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkish soldiers would march into Syria at an arms manufacturers’ conference in Ankara.
He said: “We will start the operation to clear the east of the Euphrates from separatist terrorists in a few days.”
However, he did clarify that Turkish forces were under instructions not to attack US military.
President Erdogan was scathing about US support for the Syrian Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Washington regards as an important ally in the fight against ISIS.
The US has even conducted joint patrols with the Syrian Defence Forces in northeast Syria, working with a variety of YPG fighters and other rebel groups.
They have also set up observation towers along the Syrian-Turkish border.
However, the YPG is a sister organisation of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Turkish insurgent group seen as a terrorist organisation by the US and the EU.
President Erdogan said: “Our strategic partners, the US, are cooperating with the extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party in Syria.
“We are saying they are terrorists, but they deny it.
“We know that the aim of the radar and observation posts set up by the US is not to protect our country from terrorists, but to protect the terrorists from Turkey.”
Source : EXPRESS