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Turkish military convoy moves closer to Syrian Kurds

01 May, 2017, 19:56 | Author: Rickey Alvarado

The US State Department has said it is "deeply concerned" that the strikes were conducted "without proper coordination either with the United States or the broader global coalition" against the Islamic State group (IS).

The difference of opinion over the YPG has cast a shadow over US-Turkish relations for some time and Erdogan is hoping for a drastic change in US policy when he meets President Donald Trump next month.

Ankara is hopeful about the future of the relationship with Washington under Trump after ties frayed in the final years of Barack Obama's administration.

But Turkey views Syria's Kurdish People's Protection Units, known as YPG, as a terrorist organization and an extension of the Kurdish militants who have been waging a three-decade-long insurgency against Turkey. The fighters believe this to be the case due to the fact that it has a common enemy with ISIS, the YPG (People's Protection Unit).

The escalation of force between Ankara and the YPG could complicate the operation to liberate Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria. The private Ihlas news agency reported the convoy was heading to southeastern Sanliurfa province from Kilis in the west. Photo Credit: Arab 24 network via AP Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK, a group designated as a terrorist group by both the USA and Turkey.

"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.

Turkey on Wednesday carried out several strikes in Syria and Iraq against separatist Kurdish rebels and their allies, drawing the wrath of USA officials who accused Ankara of lacklustre coordination.

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He said some 210-220 militants had been killed in recent air strikes elsewhere in northern Iraq.

Rami Abdurrahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the deployment seems limited and is aimed to "prevent fighting" between the two sides. This is very problematic for the Pentagon since it has U.S. special forces embedded with the YPG both in operations against the IS and in training missions.

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

It said the YPG "is indispensable" to defeat IS but there is also "no avoiding the fact" that the USA is backing a force "led by PKK-trained cadres in Syria while the PKK itself continues an insurgency against a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally". The town is mostly controlled by Kurdish forces, but Syrian government troops hold pockets of territory there, including the airport.

"The U.S. role has now become more like a buffer force between us and the Turks on all front lines", he said. "From the Canton of Efrin to Cindirês, and further to Dirbesiyê of the Cezire Canton, many points of our forces were attacked by the Turkish army", the YPG said.

The strike in Syria reportedly hit the area, where YPG headquarters are located, killing almost 30 YPG fighters and officials.

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