Turkish military shipment to Syrian border continues

Turkish military shipment to Syrian border continues

The coalition's confirmation of the Border Security Force came as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to attack the Kurdish militia-held town of Afrin in northern Syria "in the days ahead" to clear it of "terrorists".

Turkey, however, considers the Kurdish forces as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the European Union, according to Reuters.

In 2016 Turkey launched its Euphrates Shield military offensive in northern Syria to push back Islamic State from the border and drive a wedge between the Kurdish controlled regions.

Turkish soldiers are now based in rebel-held territory on both sides of Afrin. YPG played in a prominent role in defeating the group in its former de facto capital in northern Syria late past year.

Turkey and its western allies, including the United States, consider the PKK a terrorist organisation.

Turkey was a major supporter of rebels fighting to overthrow Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, but is alarmed by the strength of Kurdish forces - which Ankara says are linked to Kurdish militants fighting in southeast Turkey.

Erdogan added that he's waiting for backing from allies, without elaborating.

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"I hope these forces will not make a mistake of appearing on the same stage with the terrorist organisation during the Afrin operation", the president said.

Roj, the YPG spokesman, said the Kurdish militia would fight to "defend our gains, our territories".

She called Turkey's operation against Afrin a "violation" that "undermines worldwide efforts to reach a political solution in Syria".

A military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media, said that the tanks were sent as reinforcements to the Turkish border units.

Turkey has been working closely with Russian Federation and Iran to end the almost seven-year Syrian conflict despite Moscow and Tehran supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Ankara supporting the anti-Assad opposition.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

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