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Published On: Mon, Nov 20th, 2017

Erdogan demands northern Syria must be cleared of Kurdish terrorists, YPG ready with new regiment

nsnbc : Having no mandate for operations in Syria from the UN Security Council or the Syrian government, Turkish President R. Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the Syrian Kurdish town of Afrin had to be cleared of terrorists. The statement came on Friday, only days ahead of a summit meeting with Russia and Iran about Syria’s future. The Syrian Kurdish YPG, for its part, announced the formation of its 8th military regiment in Afrin.

Expecting an invasion by Turkey or Turkey-backed islamists, the YPG established its Eight Military Regiment in Afrin.

Expecting an invasion by Turkey or Turkey-backed islamists, the YPG established its Eight Military Regiment in Afrin.

Erdogan has repeatedly threatened to launch an invasion of Afrin. Thus far attacks by Turkey-backed insurgents under the umbrella of the remnants of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other militia, in some cases directly backed by Turkish troops, have been repelled by the YPG.

Afrin is held by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). The YPG with its approximately 60,000 fighters, is the main constituent of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Washington considers the SDF and by extension the YPG as its main ally in the fight against ISIS. Turkey designates the PYD, the YPG and the all-female YPJ as terrorist organizations allied and on par with Turkey’s Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

“Afrin needs to be cleared of the YPG terror group,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, adding that Turkish troops needed to be deployed there as in Idlib province. “Otherwise, different terror groups will occupy the area,” he added. Erdogan also slammed the United States over its support for the YPG, saying former president Barack Obama had failed to keep his promises while under Donald Trump Washington had continued to cooperate with the same group under the name Syria Democratic Forces (SDF).

“It was a big disappointment for us that America has not kept its promises, to a large extent, since the start of the Syrian crisis,” he added. “We don’t want to enter into the same game in Afrin. A problem that we could solve quite easily together as allies is being dragged out by American intransigence,” he added. Turkey has watched from the sidelines as towns including Raqqa have been recaptured from jihadists by the SDF – an it is worth mentioning that these jihadists once were overtly, later covertly supported by both Turkey and the USA.

Ironically, Erdogan unintentionally revealed just that ploy when he also scoffed at the idea that the United States was fighting against Islamic State (IS) jihadists. “That’s the headline. But what did you do? You paid a lot of dollars to Daesh (IS),” he said, reaffirming an claim he has raised in the past and has been rubbished by Washington. Erdogan wasn’t so frank with regard to Turkey’s support of ISIS and – according to a source close to Saad Hariri – Erdogan’s direct participation in the decision to invade Syria with ISIS – but at least – in his dispute with Washington, he reveals at least part of the truth.

The YPG , for its part, is bolstering its military capabilities in response to previous and anticipation of coming attacks from Turkey. On Sunday the YPG  formed its eight regiment in Afrin region with participation of 234 fighters. The YPG reported:

The eight regiment of Martyr Bahoz Efrin, who’d been martyred repelling Turkish army’s attacks on Afrin Canton a while ago, was established yesterday soon after the completion of a 40-days military and ideological training. Fighters had been trained on weaponry and martial arts, along with a variety of ideological courses about Democratic Nation Thesis on which Rojava’s Self-Administration structure based.

The graduation hall was decorated with pictures of the fighters, and to Ankara’s anger and Washington’s embarrassment, pictures of the leader of the Kurdish people, Abdullah Öcalan, as well as flags of the People’s and Women’s Protection Units YPG and YPJ. Ceremony was attended by hundreds in Afrin including civil and military authorities. The graduates then offered a military parade and swore the oath to protect the territory of the canton.

CH/L – nsnbc 20.11.2017

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