US Military: No 'Support' For Kurdish YPG In Afrin

In obedience to that unwritten law, nobody else objected - including the U.S., even though it had armed the Iraqi Kurds to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).

"Yes, it is a minefield dealing with Turkish sensitivities and I think Washington will back down rather than risking an actual incursion by the Turkish Army", the Central Intelligence Agency veteran opined, adding "Washington does not have either the resources or the will to oppose the Turks".

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu warns USA counterpart Tillerson over moves to form a 30,000-strong army in the north of Syria.

The transition to what appears to be open-ended stability operations in Syria could leave those USA -backed forces vulnerable to shifting alliances, power struggles and miscommunications as Assad's allies and enemies vie for greater control of post-war Syria.

Erdogan on Tuesday reiterated that Turkey planned an imminent intervention in the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.

The plan has angered Turkey, which has long threatened military action against the US-backed SDF in Afrin and other areas in northern Syria. The SDF includes various Kurdish, Syriac, Arab and other minority militias within its ranks.

Afrin had already been threatened by Turkey previous year, but that was a different time.

USA officials said the plan was to train about 30,000 personnel - half of them SDF fighters - to help prevent infiltration by IS militants across the Turkish and Iraqi borders and parts of the River Euphrates, which effectively divides SDF- and Syrian government-held regions.

And the move has enraged Russian Federation and Turkey. "What we have to do is nip this terror army in the bud", Erdogan said in a televised speech on Monday. Another delegation member who requested anonymity told Reuters they told officials us inaction in Syria would only allow Iran and its regional allies to recreate a land corridor linking Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut - often termed the "Shi'ite crescent" by Iran's regional enemies.

The Syrian government called the USA plan an attack on Syrian sovereignty.

The Afrin district has been a topic of debate recently, especially after the United States announced its intention to arm Kurdish border guards on the Syrian-Turkish border, which merited a reaction from Ankara.

Yesterday Turkey moved 10 tanks to its border with the Syrian canton of Afrin.

Fearful of an impending assault, civilians have begun leaving the Afrin area, the Turkish press has reported.

It is also not clear if U.S. military personnel are deployed around Manbij, as they were a year ago. They serve as an important counterpoint to the influence imposed by Russian Federation and Iran - two governments that back Syrian strongman Bashar Assad and his bid to eventually retake territory Damascus lost after years of civil war.

Turkey says the Kurdish People's Defense Units, or YPG, is a major threat to its security.

In the face of the collapse of rebel-held territory, most Western countries have quietly softened their positions that Assad must leave power as part of any peace deal.

"We understand that some Americans are skeptical of continued involvement in Syria", Tillerson said, but he argued such engagement is necessary to assure ISIS "do not present a threat to the homeland, and do not resurface in a new form".

  • Leroy Wright