United States warns Turkey not to attack Syria

United States warns Turkey not to attack Syria

United States warns Turkey not to attack Syria

To get rid of what he called a "separatist terrorist organization" east of the Euphrates, where the US-supported YPG Kurdish militia of the SDF now controls much of the territory, the Turkish president on earlier this week promised to launch a new military campaign in Syria "within a matter of days".

Last month the United States said would establish observation posts on the border between Kurdish-held northern Syria and Turkey after Turkish cross-border shelling killed four Kurdish fighters.

"We will start the operation to clear the east of the Euphrates from separatist terrorists in a few days".

"The target is never American soldiers but terrorist organization members active in the region", Erdogan told the audience at a defense industry summit.

"This step will allow for the path to a political solution to be opened and for healthier cooperation", Erdogan added.

Turkey says the YPG is a "terrorist offshoot" of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

Turkey sent troops into northwestern Syria past year to drive out Kurdish fighters it views as closely linked to autonomy-seeking militants at home.

Ankara has previously launched two operations in northern Syria.

A possible mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey's leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria since 2016 - Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch - both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey's borders.

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Turkey says the observation posts are aimed at protecting the YPG, while the US says the posts were established to address Turkey's security concerns.

In March, another Turkish offensive against the YPG affected the fight against Islamic State and led to an "operational pause" in eastern Syria.

Çavuşoğlu also urged the U.S.to ramp up its enforcement of the Manbij deal and highlighted that it is time to determine and train security forces that will guard the region.

Elizabeth Teoman, analyst at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), said Erdogan may be threatening the attacks "to compel a change in USA policy regarding the United States observation posts along the Syrian-Turkish border".

In his remarks Wednesday, Erdogan charged that the US was "not being honest" in describing the objective of the observation posts.

Erdogan had claimed that ISIS is no longer a threat in northern Syria during his speech on Wednesday.

Robertson said the USA -led coalition is working closely with the YPG/PKK-led SDF group, which he said is "in the midst of offensive operations against ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley", using another name for Daesh. "The fact that we have deep differences in perception with the United States is no secret", he said.

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has called on the U.S. to scrap the move and end its co-operation with the YPG.

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