Erdogan: We will nip US-backed ‘terror army’ at Syria/Turkey border

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SHAFAQNA-

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the United States over its support for the creation of a 30,000-strong “terror army” on the country’s southern borders with Syria, vowing to crush the force before it was even set up.

“America has acknowledged it is in the process of forming a terror army on our border. It is our duty to nip this terror army in the bud,” Erdogan said on Monday.

He added, “Trust in Turkey if we are your strategic allies. If soldiers are needed in Raqqah or Manbij, we can send one or two brigades. Act with Turkey. What you are doing is wrong; you’ll disgrace yourselves in front of your strategic partner.”

The Turkish president also warned US officials that the new force, which would be comprised of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants, would eventually betray them.

“These 30,000 terrorists will be the first to point their weapons at American soldiers, when they run into trouble. It’s up to the US to decide if it wants a future with these murderers. Nevertheless, we won’t allow anything to put our national security at risk,” Erdogan pointed out.

He stressed that the Turkish army is ready “at any moment” to launch an operation against the YPG in Syria.

“The Turkish Armed Forces will take care of issues in Afrin and Manbij. The preparations are complete. The operation could start any moment,” Erdogan warned, adding that the military operation will continue until not a single terrorist is left at Turkish borders.

Turkey’s opposition warns against Afrin offensive

Meanwhile, Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has called on the government to make its decisions discreetly ahead of a possible operation in the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin.

This file picture shows Ozturk Yilmaz, the deputy chairman of Turkey’s main opposition, Republican People’s Party (CHP).

“We should see it carefully, and then take a discreet decision. We should make a distinction between the incidents over there [in Afrin] and the domestic issues. This is a sensitive matter for the nation,” CHP Deputy Chairman Ozturk Yilmaz stated.

Yilmaz also slammed US plans to form a Kurdish-led border force.

“The US role in the region is not constructive, but destructive,” he said.

Turkey, Russia, Syria blast new US-backed Syria force

Moreover, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag stated on Monday that the United States is building “a terrorist army under the guise of the Syrian Border Security force.”

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag

Bozdag also tweeted that Washington is “playing with fire.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said the new force is a sign Washington “doesn’t want to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria.”

Lavrov said the nascent border force is “not helping calm the situation” and suggested it would only increase tensions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo by AFP)

Additionally, the Syrian government censured the US-backed Kurdish border security force, calling it “a blatant encroachment upon the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria” and a violation of international law.

Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

This file photo taken on June 9, 2017 shows militants from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) monitoring in the area of Afrin, along Syria’s northern border with Turkey. (Photo by AFP)

Erdogan has repeatedly said that Afrin should be cleared of “terrorists,” and demanded the deployment of Turkish troops there during a speech back in November 2016.

This is while US officials consider the YPG as the most effective fighting force against Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in northern Syria, and have substantially increased their weaponry and technology support to the militant group.

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