The plans of the coalition have fueled Ankara’s resentment over US arming and supporting Kurdish forces in Syria and prompted Turkey to summon a US top diplomat.
The US-led coalition fighting Daesh in Syria has started to form new “Border Defense Forces” at the borders of the area held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dominated by the Kurdish YPG militias, CJTF-OIR Public Affairs Officer Col. Thomas Veale told the Defense Post website on Saturday.
“The Coalition is working jointly with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to establish and train the new Syrian Border Security Force (BSF). Currently, there are approximately 230 individuals training in the BSF’s inaugural class, with the goal of a final force size of approximately 30,000,” according to the coalition’s representative.
The new force will be deployed at Syria’s northern border with Turkey, southeastern border with Iraq and along the Euphrates River Valley, the line which separates the SDF and Syrian government forces.
The ethnic composition of the force will differ in various areas, with efforts taken to ensure that people serve close to their homes. More Kurds will serve in the areas of northern Syria, while more Arabs will serve in areas along the Euphrates River Valley and along the border with Iraq, Veale noted.
Approximately 15,000 veteran SDF fighters have been confirmed to serve in the BSF, while the other 15,000 servicemen are yet to be recruited and trained. Training would include instruction in interrogation, screening and biometric scanning, the spokesman said.
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The US plans immediately triggered reaction from Ankara, with President Erdogan’s representative Ibrahim Kalin stating that such move is unacceptable and “worrying.”
He said that instead of ending supplying the SDF forces with arms “the USA is taking worrying steps to legitimise this organisation and make it lasting in the region.”
Earlier on Sunday, a Turkish senior official told Reuters that the US training of the new “Border Security Force” was reason why the US charge d’affaires was summoned in Ankara on Wednesday, as relations between Washington and Ankara remain strained due to US military support for the YPG units.