While Turkey has been threatening with an operation against the Syrian Kurdish fighters, which are the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighting Daesh, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Turkey not to engage in any invasion of the Syrian city Afrin.
The US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has urged Ankara “not to take any actions” against the Kurds in nothern Syria, saying that “we don’t want them [Turkish authorities] to engage in violence but we want them to keep focused on ISIS [Daesh].
In its turn, Ankara stated that it is its “right to self-defense in line with international law to take measure against a terror group surrounding us on three sides, violating our rights, and we should intercede.”
According to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, “We have informed them [the US] we will be intervening in Afrin and we will take action against the threats towards us wherever they come from on the eastern side of the Euphrates, in Manbij or elsewhere.”
He has emphasized that Ankara doesn’t want Washingtoin, its NATO ally, to be the opposing side of the conflict.
Commenting on the possible Afrin operation, the foreign minister said that Ankara would target PKK, which is banned as a terrorist organization in Turkey, not the Kurds in general. “This distinction should be made clearly. We should take all measures, including supplying humanitarian aid, to avoid civilians being harmed. And we should take steps carefully,” he said.
While Turkey has been threatening with an operation against the Syrian Kurdish fighters after the US announced its decision to start training a border protection force composed of the the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which mostly consist of the Kurdish YPG fighters fighting Daesh, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Turkey not to engage in any invasion of the Syrian city Afrin.
Previously, the Turkish foreign minister said that Washington has failed to keep promises on Manbij and Raqqa, thus bolstering Turkey’s mistrust towards the country.
Despite recent Tillerson’s assurances that the US had no intention to build a Syria-Turkey border force, saying the issue, which has incensed Ankara, had been “misportrayed,” the Pentagon said that despite the fact that it is not a “new army,” Turkey’s security concerns are “legitimate.”
According to Col. Thomas Veale, the public affairs officer of Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led coalition is training the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to create a 30,000-strong force to maintain security along Syria’s borders. SDF is an umbrella group of fighters dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).