Turkish military shipment to Syrian border continues

Violet Powell
January 15, 2018

Turkey and its Western allies, including the USA, consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

Erdogan said the new operation into Afrin would be an extension of Turkey's 2016 incursion into northern Syria, which aimed to combat ISIS and stem the advance of US -backed Kurdish forces.

The coalition had issued a written statement to some media outlets earlier on Sunday, wherein it said that the coalition was working with the SDF to set up and train a Syria Border Protection Force.

A YPG spokesperson in Afrin said clashes erupted after midnight between his unit and Turkish troops near the border with Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey "will continue with the Afrin [operation]- that we started first with Euphrates Shield Operation - to purge terrorism from our southern borders", referring to a successful cross-border operation in northern Syria, which ended last March.

Afrin is controlled by YPG militia considered by Ankara to be a terror group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) waging an insurgency inside Turkey.

In December, the Associated Press reported that the USA was developing an expanded training program for Kurdish and Arab border guards in Syria to prevent the resurgence of ISIS.

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About half of the force will be SDF veterans, and recruiting for the other half is underway, the coalition's public affairs office said.

Since December, Ankara has reinforced its southern border by sending armoured vehicles, tanks, and heavy machine guns, the Hurriyet daily cited sources as saying.

Dillon said efforts were taken to ensure individuals served in areas close to their homes.

Turkish authorities also consider the possibility of the PKK-affiliated groups to changes sides from the U.S.to Syria, their original protector.

"It is absolutely not possible for this to be accepted", spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 security forces and civilians - including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone, when it resumed its armed campaign against the Turkish state following a fragile cease-fire.

Following a fragile cease-fire, the group resumed fighting in July 2015.

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