Turkey warns of more strikes if Syrian Kurds don't retreat
Aug 30, 2016, 01:59
The first, in flawless accord with American policy, is to put the Islamic State group out of business in general, and in particular along the 511-mile Turkish-Syrian border. the second, which until now has put it at some odds with USA policy in the region, is to keep the Kurds from becoming stronger in Syria and through, the cooperation that exists among Kurds in the region, in Turkey as well.
The Turkish government says the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing YPG have close connections with the PKK.
However, Turkish jets struck People's Protection Units (YPG) positions in the area yesterday as Turkish-backed rebel groups fought with Syria's main Kurdish nationalist force after Daesh's defeat in Jarablus. They have been clashing with Kurdish Syrian forces around the town to try to halt their advance.
He said all relevant parties had been forewarned of Turkey's operation in Syria, including the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a bitter enemy of Ankara who had been informed by its ally Russian Federation. It puts Washington in the hard spot of having to choose between two allies, and it is likely to divert resources from the fight against IS.
Ankara considers the YPG a "terrorist" group and has fiercely opposed its bid to expand into areas recaptured from IS to create a contiguous autonomous zone. "We are sure of this", he said.
Carter told reporters at the Pentagon that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford spoke to his Turkish counterpart on Sunday. Carter added that he intends to discuss the issue next week in Europe with Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik.
He added: "If those forces are being reinforced in Manbij and the Turks are saying they wish to take Manbij, then they're heading for a clash".
He warned that unco-ordinated operations "provide room for ISIL [IS] to find sanctuary and continue planning attacks against Turkey, the SDF, the United States, and our partners around the world".
"Therefore, as previously stated by the United States and by the Syrian Kurds themselves, they need to move east of Euphrates, otherwise they will become a target in this operation", Cavusoglu told reporters.
In this welter of conflicting interests, the Obama administration is right to focus on combating ISIS and on trying to keep relations with Turkey from deteriorating further.
Turkey has insisted Kurdish militia, which it regards as terrorists, retreat east across the Euphrates river. Washingtons slow response to Turkeys demand for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric, who now lives in Pennsylvania and is regarded by Ankara as the mastermind of the plot, has only heightened anti-U.S. feelings in Turkey.
Turkish forces have attacked what they say are Kurdish "terrorists" since crossing the border last week.
"The villages of Thaljiyeh and al-Hadheibat in the Eastern side of al-Rai also were captured by the Turkey-backed FSA", the sources went on to say.
Carter says the US has persuaded the SDF to stay east of the Euphrates River, where they will not come in contact with Turkish forces on the west side of the Euphrates, and they can both fight the Islamic State from those positions.
The PYD terrorist group is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the USA and EU.
Also, is it not unusual that ISIS withdrew from Jarablus without fighting, enabling (other) Turkish-backed Islamists to take complete control of the city within hours of the beginning of the operation?
The Pentagon, which sees the YPG militia as an important strategic part of the US -led anti-IS coalition, says USA forces were not involved any clashes between the YPG and troops taking part in the Turkish ground offensive.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was visiting southeastern city of Gaziantep on Sunday to express condolences for last weekend's suicide bombing there at a Kurdish wedding that left 54 dead. "They have fought hard and sacrificed to try and rid Syria of this hateful group". The Sajour is north of Manbij.
United States anti-IS coalition envoy Brett McGurk tweeted from a Defense Department briefing, saying the USA "was not involved in these activities, they were not coordinated with U.S. forces and we do not support them".
The move is unlikely to be accepted by Turkey, since Ankara wants the rebels to withdraw completely east of the Euphrates.
On Sunday, two separate blasts in the Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast killed one Turkish soldier and wounded eight others, and Kurdish militants launched a rocket-propelled grenade at a civilian airport, officials and the state-run news agency said. Turkey denied any civilians had been hit.
On Saturday, a Turkish soldier was killed and three more wounded in a Kurdish attack south of Jarabulus.
Cavusoglu also hailed the success of the lightning operation by Turkish-backed Syrian Arab fighters, who on Wednesday captured the town of Jarabulus from IS.
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