Turkey threatens further strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds

Turkey threatens further strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds

"With the U.S. -Kurdish pact consolidating, not weakening, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has reverted to claiming that the burgeoning alliance could end up empowering a Kurdish push for autonomy, and stoke the fires of insurgency inside Turkey's own borders".

Erdogan is due in Washington on May 16 for his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Friday, a commander of the Kurdish People's Protection Units told Reuters he expected United States troops to arrive on the border of the autonomous region to protect its inhabitants from shelling, and video footage circulating online shows armoured vehicles with American flags ranged along the Turkish border. USA armored vehicles are deploying in areas in northern Syria along the tense border with Turkey, a few days after a Turkish airstrike that killed 20 US -backed Kurdish fighters, a Syrian war monitor and Kurdish activists said Friday.

More U.S. troops were seen Saturday in armored vehicles in Syria in Kurdish areas.

The YPG is a close U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State group but is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group because of its ties to Turkey's Kurdish rebels.

This means United States forces have been forced to intervene between two of their own allies, with Turkey being a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. While Turkish airstrikes have been targeted at PKK forces across Turkey's border, the number of YPG forces who have also been killed in the attacks has drawn the ire of the US government.

'We will be forced to continue (our offensives),' Erdogan said. "We are not going to tip off the terror groups and the Turkish Armed Forces could come at any moment". "We can turn up abruptly one night", he said, repeating a line from a well-known Turkish song.

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Turkey, however, has remained hostile to the Kurdish People's Protection Units, known by their Kurdish acronym the YPG, which form the backbone of the SDF. The Kurdish group in Syria said that 20 of its fighters and media activists were killed in the strike, which was followed by cross-border clashes.

Tension between Turkey and the YPG has been rising. "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.

Despite this issue's jurisdiction within the U.S. Department of Justice, the Turkish government has brought up the issue of Gülen with U.S. officials from Trump to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The YPG and Syrian government forces have largely avoided confrontation over the course of the country's six-year-long civil war.

In other developments, more than a thousand residents of Damascus suburbs demonstrated against anti-government rebel infighting, activists said, only to be met at one demonstration by rebels who tried to disperse the protest with gunfire.

Each side blames the other for triggering the fighting in the power struggle over control of eastern Ghouta.

The Turkish military has "retaliated" to a rocket attack on a Turkish border post, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported on Saturday, adding that the army said it had killed 11 militants. Eight civilians were also killed.

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