United States forces to monitor situation along Syria-Turkey border: YPG commander

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 3, 2017

Erdogan's comments come ahead of a meeting with President Donald Trump on May 16 in the United States, their first face-to-face summit since the American leader took office in January.

The Turkish military said the strikes, of which local governments as well as the US and Russian Federation had been notified, were meant to prevent the PKK from sending terrorists, arms, ammunition, and explosives to Turkey.

Redur Khalil, YPG's spokesman in Syria, said Turkey is reinforcing its border posts opposite Tal Abyad as well as other areas.

The strike in Syria reportedly hit the area, where YPG headquarters are located, killing almost 30 YPG fighters and officials.

The YPG forms the backbone of the USA -backed Syria Democratic Forces.

The cooperation between Washington and the YPG, which saw the United States send a limited number of forces to work with the group, led to bitter tensions between Ankara and Washington in the dying months of the Obama administration.

Officials at the Pentagon would not confirm whether forces had been dispatched to the border region specifically to deter fighting between Turkish and People's Protection Unit, or YPG, forces.

The Turkish government is pressuring Washington to stop backing Kurdish fighters as an ally in the fight against ISIL militants in Syria, in a dispute that has limited cooperation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Turkey, however, considers the YPG a terrorist organization, the Syrian branch of its long-time enemy, the armed Kurdish Workers Party or PKK.

Turkish officials announced the conclusion of Operation Euphrates Shield in March, but have said they would continue combating Daesh militants and Kurdish forces.

Turkey on Wednesday carried out several strikes in Syria and Iraq against separatist Kurdish rebels and their allies, drawing the wrath of USA officials who accused Ankara of lacklustre coordination.

Khalil said his forces are not building up in the area and added that the worldwide coalition is now "monitoring" the border. The Turkish military said the strikes, which local governments as well as the US and Russian Federation were notified about in advance, were meant to prevent the PKK from sending terrorists, arms, ammunition, and explosives to Turkey. The People's Protection Units and Syrian government forces have largely avoided confrontation over the course of the country's 6-year-old civil war.

Seven protesters were wounded, according to the activist-run Ghouta Media Center, which posted the video. Seventy people were killed, they said.

The infighting pits the Army of Islam against the al-Rahman Corps and the al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee.

Each side blames the other for triggering the fighting in the power struggle over control of eastern Ghouta. The town is mostly controlled by Kurdish forces, but Syrian government troops hold pockets of territory there, including the airport.

In all, some 120,000 people have been suspended or sacked from their jobs and more than 40,000 arrested in the aftermath of the failed putsch, which killed 240, mostly civilians.

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