Amid statements from Ankara about a possible cross border operation into areas in northern Syria controlled by Kurdish forces, the state-run Anadolu news agency on Thursday reported that the US has sent a total of 468 trucks of weapons to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
According to the report, with the US sending 120 trucks of military aid to the YPG on June 21 and June 26, Washington since May 15 has sent 468 trucks of military aid to Syrian Kurdish militants, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization due to its links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
On Wednesday, the Turkish armed forces retaliated with artillery fire overnight and destroyed YPG targets after Kurdish militia opened fire on Turkish-backed forces in northern Syria, the Turkish military said.
On the same day Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara was ready to undertake a new military operation in northern Syria similar to Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched in August of last year.
Speaking to the Russian Izvestia newspaper, Erdoğan said Turkey’s borders are under threat by Syrian Kurdish militia and that Turkey would not allow the establishment of any Kurdish state in Syria.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak also on Wednesday said the Afrin region of Syria should be cleared of terrorists, saying it is necessary for the security of Azaz, Mare, Al Bab and Idlib, Anadolu reported.
“The problem in the region is Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD] and PKK control over Afrin and the establishment of a Russian base there,” Kaynak told the media in Kahramanmaraş.
“As AFAD [Disaster and Emergency Management Agency], we have been establishing a gendarmerie base on Akil Hill, one of the highest points in Al Bab,” said Kaynak, adding that the base would be used for the general security of the region.
In a bid to clear Turkey’s border of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and stop the PYD from merging its Kobane and Afrin cantons, Turkey along with Free Syrian Army (FSA) troops took control of a 2,015-square-kilometer area after launching Operation Euphrates Shield last August.