Tensions rise between Turkey, US over targeting YPG along Syrian border

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US forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, drive their armoured vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey on April 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN

Tensions rose along the Syrian-Turkish border as Turkey and the US moved armored vehicles to the area after Turkey launched airstrikes on People’s Protection Units (YPG) targets killing at least 90 militants last week, The Washington Post reported.

After US troops were seen patrolling the Syrian border on Friday, Turkey relocated troops and armored vehicles to the area the next day in order to hit Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants and its Syrian affiliate, the YPG.

Speaking at İstanbul Atatürk Airport before his departure for an official visit to India on Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the patrols by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on the Turkish-Syrian border.

We might go there at night without warning. I mean it. We don’t announce [our plans] beforehand, giving dates to terrorist organizations. They know that the Turkish military could go there at any minute. They live in fear, not us,” Erdoğan said.

On Saturday, more US troops in armored vehicles arrived in the Kurdish areas of northern Syria, passing through the town of Qamishli, close to the border with Turkey. The town is mostly controlled by Kurdish YPG forces, but Syrian government troops hold pockets of territory there, including the airport.

The Turkish military said on Tuesday that at least 90 militants were killed and scores wounded as Turkey conducted airstrikes against YPG bases in Syria and Iraq.

While Turkey sees YPG as a terrorist organization due to its ties with the PKK, the Kurdish group forms the backbone of the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against ISIL.

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