Erdogan to YPG: You can't rely on U.S. support to defeat Turkey

Erdogan to YPG: You can't rely on U.S. support to defeat Turkey

But the recent escalation coincides with USA announcements that it is creating a new 30,000-strong Kurdish-led border force to secure the frontiers of Kurdish-controlled areas, including with Turkey and Iraq, to prevent the resurgence of Islamic State militants. Turkish security forces retaliated, it said.

President Erdogan declared the launch of a "de facto" campaign for Afrin today as witnesses reported a convoy of Turkish-backed Syrian rebels heading to Afrin on trucks mounted with machineguns.

Russia's defense ministry said the main trigger for the escalation was provocative steps taken by the USA aimed at isolating areas with predominantly Kurdish populations.

"We do not believe that a military operation. serves the cause of regional stability, Syrian stability, or indeed Turkish concerns about the security of their border", said a senior US State Department official.

The YPG has been the key ground component in the fight against Islamic State group in Syria.

An offensive against the Kurdish-held town of Manbij will follow, Mr Erdogan said.

The Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated that the country's warplanes have bombed YPG, PYD targets in the Syrian city of Afrin, Mehr news agency reports.

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SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali denied that Turkish troops had entered Afrin, saying Kurdish forces had been repelling attacks since Saturday. It began operating in northern Syria in 2016, its participation in an global effort to defeat Islamic State dovetailing with its campaign to block the convergence of Kurdish-run regions.

It has been listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The U.S. has developed close ties with the Kurdish militia over the shared fight against IS and keeps bases in northeast Syria with the Kurds.

Ozgurgun's post came after Turkey launched an operation, dubbed "Operation Olive Branch" in the Afrin region, Syria on Saturday.

AFP correspondents in the area around the Turkish border village of Sugedigi in Hatay province saw several more Turkish military vehicles heading south to the border.

Turkey's army chief General Hulusi Akar and spy chief Hakan Fidan were in Moscow on Thursday for talks with Russian counterparts on Syria.

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