Erdogan claims to have been “seriously saddened” by footage and images of USA military vehicles patrolling the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, ostensibly to act as a “buffer” between Turkey and the YPG.
Kurdish officials describe the USA troop movement as “buffer” between them and Turkey.
A USA military commander (R) walks with a commander (C) from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as they inspect the damage at YPG headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria.
The US State Department has said it is “deeply concerned” that the strikes were conducted “without proper coordination either with the United States or the broader global coalition” against the Islamic State group (IS).
“Unfortunately … the presence of an American flag along with the [insignia] of a terror organization called YPG in a convoy has seriously saddened us”, Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul. The shelling hit near Darbasiya, a town in a Kurdish-controlled part of northeast Syria.
The Trump administration fired 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in central Syria in the wake of the attack, marking the first time the USA has directly struck Assad’s forces during the country’s six-year civil war.
The Turkish army fired back and killed 11 “terrorists”, it said. 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.
They also attacked the positions of the Kurdish militia near the town of Sinjar.
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. There, they found documents shedding light on the ISIS oil trade, jihadist passports with Turkish entry stamps, an instruction booklet – printed in Turkey – on how to wage war against the Syrian government, and more. Armored vehicles display USA flags.
“We are telling American friends not to take a terror group along with them”, he added.
The US classes the PKK as a terrorist organisation, but is supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces – which encompassed the YPG, on the ground. Local residents attested that intermediaries from Raqqa and Aleppo arrived to pick up the oil and often mentioned Turkey, while a captured ISIS recruit admitted on camera that the terrorist group sells oil to Turkey.
Erdogan is to visit Washington on May 16 for his first meeting with Trump.
“The huge America, the coalition and Turkey can join hands and turn Raqqa into a graveyard for Daesh”, said president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. One of the first things the US should do is grant the Syriac Military Council’s request that the USA stand firmly against Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman jihad and adequately support the Christians and Kurds in the Syrian Democratic Forces.
Redur Khalil, the spokesman for the YPG in Syria, said his group has information that Turkey is reinforcing its border posts opposite Tal Abyad as well as other border posts.
The US administration is set to use YPG forces in a planned US-led offensive to retake Daesh’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqah.