Turkey begins first wave of artillery fire on Kurds in Afrin
- Author: Leroy Wright Jan 19, 2018,
Jan 19, 2018, 9:05
Turkey dispatched its military chief to Moscow on Thursday, seeking approval for an air campaign in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Afrin region, although Damascus warned it could shoot down any Turkish planes in its skies.
On Saturday, Ankara redeployed heavy military equipment to the border with Syria and shelled positions of the Syrian Kurds in the area of Afrin in northern Syria.
The United States has around 2,000 military personnel in Syria, deployed as part of the USA -led coalition's campaign against Islamic State.
In Washington, the USA has recognized Turkey's concerns.
"Our direct mistrust of the United States continues".
US-led coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said its forces weren't active in Syria's Afrin area.
Turkey began its first wave of artillery fire targeting Kurdish fighters in Afrin, Syria on Tuesday night, said an Al Arabiya reporter.
He described the forces formed by the USA as a "an army of terrorists created by the United States on the Turkish borders", vowing to destroy it.
The United States insisted Wednesday it does not intend to create an "army" or conventional border guards.
Asked whether he planned to discuss the Kurdish-led border force with U.S. President Donald Trump, Erdogan said he had no plans to call the U.S. leader.
Cavusoglu said despite their disagreements over Syria - including on the future of Moscow's ally President Bashar al-Assad - Turkey has been working with Russian Federation on the issue. "We have to be in coordination with them for an aerial operation", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a televised interview on Thursday.
"There is a possibility that this pressure is part of an agreement with the Russians to return the city to Syrian government control", Mr Hamo said.
"The problem now is that the campaign against ISIS has entered a new phase, that the USA military is posturing toward a long-term force and training a YPG militia is a direct challenge to Turkey", Meral added.
The growing prospect of a Turkish military confrontation with USA -backed troops has strained already troubled relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.