Erdogan: Turkey 'Ready' to Invade Kurdish Northern Syria
Erdogan: Turkey 'Ready' to Invade Kurdish Northern Syria
Key US allies 'temporarily' halt campaign against ISIS in Syria following clashes with Turkey
01 November, 2018, 13:22
ISIS has been driven to just a few towns in the area and the United States and its coalition allies conducted 184 air and artillery strikes last week targeting the terror group's last remaining territory, striking command and control centers, weapons caches and vehicles. This assault has already forced Kurdish forces to retreat across the Euphrates river.
He suggested that the State Department's unwillingness to criticize Erdogan directly was "very hard to understand, makes no sense", and "doesn't fit the facts", as, in many respects, under Erdogan's leadership, Turkey no longer acts as a USA ally.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks came days after the Turkish military shelled SyrianKurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, militia positions and following repeated warnings to expand Ankara's operations to northeastern Syria.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have announced a pause in their campaign against ISIS following clashes between the SDF and Turkish forces, according to two US military officials and a statement from the SDF.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the USA and the European Union - has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.
Turkish forces recently struck several targets belonging to the YPG near the town of Kobani in northern Syria.
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Akar said that after Manbij, "clearance of east of Euphrates will be discussed".
"The U.S. needs the YPG against [IS], since Arab [fighters] of SDF are not as efficient, as we can see in Deir el-Zour", he said.
"Unilateral military strikes into northwest Syria by any party, particularly as American personnel may be present or in the vicinity, are of great concern to us", US State Department Spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters on Wednesday. Erdogan said the Turkish prosecutor repeated to his Saudi counterpart Turkey's extradition request of 18 suspects detained in Saudi Arabia for the October 2 killing to be put on trial in Istanbul. In an effort to alleviate the situation, the US agreed to jointly control Manbij with Turkish forces, and Kurdish forces agreed to withdraw.
The strategic town lies west of the Euphrates and was taken by SDF forces from the Islamic State in 2016.
Turkey had threatenedin June to attack the town of Manbij, which had at that time been controlled by the Kurds. Turkey's defense minister, Hulusi Akar, said in comments carried by Anadolu that the patrols would begin as soon as training is completed.
Turkey has always been accused of directly or indirectly propping up the Islamic State in order to press on with a decades-long campaign against the Kurds, one of the largest stateless populations in the world. The YPG has stated that their forces have withdrawn from the city.
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