Turkey stifles anti-Syria operation protests after Erdogan warning

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 22, 2018

In a sign of the risks to Turkey, four rockets fired by the YPG hit a town in southern Turkey on the Syrian border early Sunday without causing loss of life, local officials said.

He said that the PYD/PKK's armed wing, the YPG, had forced Kurds into exile, as more than 300,000 Kurds have fled to Turkey. The state-run Anadolu Agency said buses carried Turkish commandos to Hatay on Friday while Syrian opposition fighters were also taken to the province from a Turkish-controlled zone in Syria.

HASSA, Turkey - Turkish troops and Syrian opposition forces attacked a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria on Sunday in their bid to oust from the area a USA -allied Kurdish militia, which responded with a hail of rockets on Turkish towns, killing at least one refugee.

"In the case that Turkey's demands are not met, we will take determined steps in Afrin and other regions to protect our interests", said Deputy Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Bekir Bozdag after a cabinet meeting.

It sees the militia as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday that the initiative does not mean to damage Turkish interests but rather to fight ISIS terrorism in northern and north-east Syria.

Turkish forces and their Syrian allies on Sunday pressed a cross border offensive against a Kurdish militia for a second day, as rocket fire hit a border town in apparent retaliation.

"We call on the global community.to take responsibility towards more than a million people living in Afrin", the PYD said. Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization.

Turkey reacted sharply to the US-led worldwide coalition to fight ISIS announcing that they are working on forming a border security force made up of 30,000 men in eastern Syria.

Turkish jets have begun an aerial offensive, codenamed operation "Olive Branch", against the Syrian Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin, in northwest Syria.

"We call on all parties to remain focused on the central goal of defeating" IS, Nauert said.

The United States is "keenly aware of the legitimate security concerns of Turkey, a member of the Global Coalition and a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally", the USA military statement said.

An AFP correspondent on the Turkish side of the border saw two war planes launch air strikes inside Syrian territory, sending huge white plumes of smoke into the sky.

TEV-DEM said Syrian people should know Turkey aims to divide Syria: "The occupying military powers want to occupy Afrin and Manbij".

On Monday, Erdogan said preparations for the military assault on Afrin "are complete", adding that an operation could start any moment.

Erdogan has threatened to derail the creation of the new border security force in northern Syria, labelling it a "terror army".

Turkey was greenlighted to use the neighboring country's airspace to launch attacks on the YPG.

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