Turkey threatens further strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds

Raquel Nash
May 1, 2017

The Syrian Kurdish militia is Washington's main ally in combating Islamic State militants in Syria. "We're going to get the premiums down, we're going to get the deductibles down; we're going to take care of every single need that you're going to want to have taken care of", Mr. Trump said, as he labeled Obamacare a "catastrophe".

A convoy of Turkish military vehicles has relocated to a base near the Syrian border as tensions with US -backed Kurdish militants escalate.

Speaking in Istanbul, Mr Erdogan insisted that USA support for such groups "must come to an end" and said he would bring the matter up at a meeting with President Donald Trump next month.

Ankara is hopeful about a relationship with Washington under Trump after ties frayed in the final years of Barack Obama's administration, which limited cooperation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

The US backed the formation of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by the YPG but also including Arab fighters, yet Ankara contends it is merely a front from the Kurdish group.

But for Washington, the YPG is essential in the fight against ISIL militants. The private Ihlas news agency IHA reported the convoy was heading to southeastern Sanliurfa province from Kilis in the west. The Turkish president also said he would present Trump with alleged proof that the Kurdish forces are terrorist organizations.

"We are willing to go to Khan Sheikhoun and we have undertaken some actions", Ahmet Uzumcu of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told a small group of reporters in The Hague.

THE US has reportedly sent troops to the border between Turkey and the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Syria, in an apparent response to a spate of Turkish assaults on Kurdish targets.

"This needs to be stopped right now", Erdogan said. The Turkish government also attacked the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq.

"We can come unexpectedly in the night", Erdogan said.

Anti-ISIL coalition forces are patrolling the Turkey-Syria border in the wake of Turkey's counter-terrorism operation in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) told Anadolu Agency on Saturday, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.

The area, which includes Arbin, has been held under siege by government forces for more than three years. Khanaser has changed hands many times during the conflict.

Khalil said his forces were not building up in the area.

Between 20 and 30 US-backed Kurdish fighters were killed in those incidents, according to various estimates.

In other developments, more than a thousand residents of Damascus suburbs demonstrated against anti-government rebel infighting, activists said, only to be met at one demonstration by rebels who tried to disperse the protest with gunfire. That group is a key ally for Washington in the fight against ISIS in its self-proclaimed "capital" of Raqqa.

Each side blames the other for triggering the fighting in the power struggle over control of eastern Ghouta. Some activists have called on Army of Islam to rid eastern Ghouta of the powerful Levant Liberation Committee.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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