Saturday, 24 February, 2018

US urges Turkey not to take military action in Syria's Afrin

SDF training in Raqqa Sputnik Hikmet DurgunSDF Spokesman'US Is Positive About the Idea of a Federal Syria
Nellie Chapman | 21 January, 2018, 02:27

Syria's air force suffered a number of plane and helicopter losses in the government's war on opposition areas inside the country and the Islamic State. The region of northern Syria controlled by Turkey-backed Syrian rebels was also being attacked, he said.

Russian Federation - a key military figure in the region - says it is concerned by the development, and has relocated some of its troops based in the region. The day before, the operation de facto started.

"No, it did not", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN-Turk television in an interview.

Why is Turkey's targeting US-backed groups?

Kurdish leadership said the enclave would be protected by the effective YPG militia, a close ally of the United States-led anti-Daesh (IS) coalition and widely-regarded as one of, if not the most, effective ground-fighting force against the militants.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday that Turkish warplanes started the military campaign against Afrin, adding that the aim of the offensive is to eliminate the fighters of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). "The U.S. must stop cooperating with this terrorist organization", he said of the Kurdish fighters.

Disagreement over the Kurdish fighters has created a sharp division between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Rex Tillerson, the USA secretary of state, hastily tried to ease tensions, insisting that it had been a mistake to call the unit a "border force" but his words have so far done little to appease the Turks.

What is happening in Afrin?

Angered by Washington's move, Turkey has also approached Iran and Russia, Syria's key allies, for a clearance to conduct aerial operations in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

It would also effectively cement the emerging status of the Kurdish-led entity, which is modeled on the vision of Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish leader jailed for terrorism in Turkey.

Turkey is thought to be planning to launch fresh assaults in the coming days, including aerial attacks, against the Syrian-Kurd militia, which it calls "terrorists".

"The YPG and the civilians will defend Afrin to the last moment", he said.

According to estimates, there are between 8,000 to 10,000 Kurdish fighters in the Afrin area of Syria.

Turkey asked on Thursday for Russia's air cover to launch a military operation ahead of infiltrating the city of Afrin, northern Syria.

But Erdogan accused the United States of not keeping its past promises that the YPG would clear out of Manbij. "We call on the opposing parties to show restraint". With this new front, the danger is that number will rise again. "We have coordinated and are coordinating many steps with Russian Federation thus far".

The Foreign Ministry, in remarks carried on Syria's state news agency SANA, said Thursday that America's military presence is "illegal".

"Moscow is concerned at this news".