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Syrian Kurds mobilise civilians as Erdogan warns of attack 'at any moment'

16 January 2018

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the US training of the new "Border Security Force" was the reason the USA charge d'affaires was summoned in Ankara while President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said the development was unacceptable.

Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian arm of the PKK, an outlawed Kurdish group responsible for major terror attacks in the Turkey as part of its bid for national ethnic autonomy.

Tensions with Washington have repeatedly erupted over its support of the SDF, prompting USA troops to deploy in northeast Syria to prevent clashes between the Kurdish forces and Turkey-backed fighters.

Two months ago, the USA military said it would fight Islamic State in Syria "as long as they want to fight".

The Turkish president said that "despite it all" he wanted to work with the USA in the region and hoped it would not side with the YPG during the Afrin operation.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also warned USA troops against coming between Turkish troops and Kurdish forces, which Ankara views as an extension of Turkey's own Kurdish insurgency.

On Monday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the United States was trying to create a "terror army" and pledged to crush the new force before it came into existence.

In recent days, Turkey said it would soon launch a new operation in Afrin and sent reinforcements to the border. "More Kurds will serve in the areas in northern Syria".

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The force will be deployed at the borders of the area controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of militias in northern and eastern Syria dominated by the Kurdish YPG.

In his view, the answer to the question of the reasons for Ankara's involvement in the operation in Afghanistan is the PYD / YPG terrorists' attempt to support the United States to form the 30,000 people strong Security Force on the border of Syria in the Bashar Assad- Abu Zhuhur in Idlib province and the likelihood that Russian Federation will invite Syrian democratic forces to participate in the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi.

"It is absolutely not possible for this to be accepted", he said, adding that Turkey "will continue its fight against any terrorist organisation regardless of its name and shape within and outside its borders".

The YPG have occasionally skirmished with the Turkish military and Turkish-backed rebels throughout the Syrian civil war.

The Syrian Government in Damascus said the establishment of the new force "represents and blatant assault" on their sovereignty. It said any Syrian who joined the force would be deemed "a traitor".

"What the American administration has done comes in the context of its destructive policy in the region to fragment countries. and impedes any solutions to the crises", an official at the foreign ministry was cited as saying by the Sana news agency.

Assad's allies have also chimed in. The SDF now controls almost 25 percent of Syrian territory in the north and east.

Syrian Kurds mobilise civilians as Erdogan warns of attack 'at any moment'