Turkish anger over new Kurdish-led border security force in Syria

ANKARA: Turkey reacted with undisguised anger on Sunday to plans by the US-led coalition against Daesh to establish a 30,000-strong Kurdish-led border security force in northern Syria.

At least half of the new force will be retrained fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). They are the coalition’s main allies in Syria — but Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian branch of the outlawed PKK, and therefore a terrorist group.
“Rather than end its support to the PYD-YPG, these steps taken to legitimize a terror organization and to make it permanent in the region are worrying,” said Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Accepting this state of affairs is absolutely not possible. We reserve all our rights of intervention against terror.”
With the offensive against Daesh winding down, the coalition and its allies are shifting their focus to border security, coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said.
“There is a goal of a final force of about 30,000. There are approximately 230 individuals training right now in the border security force. That’s an inaugural class.”
The new force will secure checkpoints and guard against improvised explosive devices. Kurdish members are expected to serve on Syria’s northern border with Turkey, with Arab forces deployed along the border with Iraq and the Euphrates River valley.
The new move was further evidence that US and Turkish policies and objectives in Syria were continuing to diverge, Serhat Guvenc, a professor of international relations at Istanbul Kadir Has University, told Arab News.

Categories: Arab World, Asia, Syria, Turkey

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