The US backpedals on new Kurdish force as Turkey prepares for war


Ankara has warned in recent days of an imminent military operation in Afrin, one of three autonomous cantons under the control of Kurdish forces and their allies.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also vowed to crush the new border force and drive USA troops from Syria, while Russian Federation charged that the plan showed the United States intends to partition Syria by allowing Kurdish forces to consolidate their hold on the approximately 25 percent of Syrian territory they now control after liberating it from IS. It has criticized the US for extending support and arming the Kurdish forces as part of the campaign that drove the Islamic State militant group from large parts of Syria.

At the same time "the U.S. will give Ankara nothing except the promise that they will not allow the SDF to bother them if Turkey promises to continue supporting the U.S. agenda in the region", Assad said. A spokeswoman for the UN's refugee agency told the BBC that they had not yet received reports of people leaving Afrin, but that it was prepared to help if needed.

"With every USA statement about the need to confront Iran's influence, Iran has been expanding in Syria while moderate forces that are backed by Washington see aid being dried up and are weakened", Sejari said. "The groups that we support are exclusively involved in operations countering Daesh", he added, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

"As we have seen from Iran s proxy wars and public announcements, Iran seeks dominance in the Middle East and the destruction of our ally Israel", he said.

"It would be inappropriate and irresponsible to speculate on hypothetical situations", the Public Affairs Office responded in an email.

Troops allied with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad are determined to "end the presence of the US" in the country, Syria's state-run news agency, SANA, said Monday, citing an official at the regime's Foreign Ministry.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week also threatened to destroy a planned US-backed 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria that would be composed partly of YPG fighters, describing it as an "army of terror".

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The Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim, meanwhile said "America's conflicting statements shows their confusion about the region".

With rebel groups divided, he said, the the last coherent force left to push for change. "We can protect our own borders", Yildirim was quoted as saying by Anadolu.

"I would like to ask all those countries that promised they would support the Syrian people and their aspirations for democracy and peace: why didn't they fulfil their promises?"

The United States will maintain a presence of troops in Syria for the foreseeable future to deter both the Islamic State and Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday. Then the US shifted its focus to defeating the IS and establishing its influence in the country.

"The intention of the United States is to remain relevant in Syria by having an armed force on the ground", Giraldi told Sputnik.

Speaking at a high-level North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, Turkey's armed forces chief, General Hulusi Akar, said his country will not allow YPG to receive assistance from any North Atlantic Treaty Organisation nation. We can not allow history to repeat itself in Syria.

"It can't be, in my view, that there are countries who say we won't take part in European solidarity", she said.