Russian Federation says USA 'took provocative steps' by arming YPG in Syria

Joanna Estrada
January 21, 2018

Faysal Mekdad says Syria considers any air attack or ground operations by Turkey on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin to be a "aggressive act" and a violation of worldwide law. "Diab is part of a wave of Syrians fleeing an offensive by Syrian government forces and their allies, which several people at the Kelbit camp said involved the heaviest bombardment they had seen in almost seven years of conflict".

The timing reflects Turkey's increased frustration with US support for Kurdish forces in Syria, who are now in control of almost 25 percent of the country, in areas that straddle the Turkish and Iraqi border.

He said Erdogan had threatened incursions inside Syria "once a week, every week" for the past year since the Euphrates Shield incursion Turkey launched in August 2016, which ended the following spring.

They waved flags of the YPG and also banners of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Earlier, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the U.S. is openly supporting the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist groups in Syria. "So nobody can object if we do what is necessary", said Erdogan, threatening to pursue the operations up to the Iraqi border.

Governor Mehmet Tekinarslan told an Anadolu Agency reporter that only one person suffered slight injuries in the event due to scattered glass pieces on their face. Rather, it was trying to ensure allied fighters were able to protect their territory from attacks by IS remnants.

The recent announcement by the US-led coalition to create a 30,000-strong "Syrian Border Force" operating under the SDF prompted angry reaction in Ankara, which vowed to take action against "terrorism".

"The establishment of a so-called terror army would cause irreversible damage in our is a very serious situation", he warned.

The Syrian government has also indicated that it would shoot down any Turkish planes entering its skies.

A Turkish military statement said Gen. Hulusi Akar and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan would meet with Russia's military chief, Valery Gerasimov, to discuss regional security issues, the latest developments in Syria and ongoing peace efforts for the war-torn country.

Despite supporting opposing sides of the conflict in Syria, Turkey and Russian Federation have co-operated on the creation of "de-escalation zones" in Idlib and three other areas. "We are meeting the Russians and Iran on the use of air space".

The battle of Afrin has been long anticipated, as Turkey made clear that it was going to unleash an offensive along with the Ankara-backed Syrian rebels against the YPG in Afrin.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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