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Turkey sends more troops to Syrian Kurdish area as US pulls out — monitor

By AFP 23/12/2018
Turkish tanks and other heavy equipment in the border town of Kilis en route to northern Syria/ DHA

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Turkey on Saturday sent military reinforcements to northern Syria near an area controlled by Kurdish forces as Ankara threatens to carry out a fresh offensive to wipe them out, a war monitor said.


The move comes after US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement on Wednesday of the withdrawal of American troops stationed in northeastern Syria alongside Kurdish fighters, a long-time enemy of Turkey.


Washington has for years supported the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria, as part of an international anti-jihadist coalition dominated by the People’s Protection Units (YPG).


But on Wednesday Trump said he was ordering a withdrawal of the estimated 2,000 US troops in Syria because IS had been defeated, an assessment criticized by many.


“Around 35 tanks and other heavy weapons, carried aboard tank carriers, crossed the Jarablos border crossing in the early evening,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.


“They headed for an area near the Sajour River, between Jarablos and Manbij, not far from the front lines where Kurdish fighters of the Manbij Military Council are stationed,” he added.


Turkey accuses the YPG of being a “terrorist offshoot” of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday vowed to drive both the YPG and IS from Syria.


Ankara fears a Kurdish state could be established on its borders, which it believes could reinforce separatist ambitions of the Kurdish minority in Turkey.


The Kurdish community accounts for 15 percent of Syria’s population and controls around 30 percent of the country, as a federal region declared in 2016.


In the past two years Turkey has conducted two offensives into northern Syria. In 2016 it launched an operation against IS, which also aimed to block the YPG from joining up the territory it held in northern Syria.


And in January 2018 Turkey staged an offensive against the militia in its northwestern enclave of Afrin.


Riha | 23/12/2018
Bring in the Syrian army and lets see if Turkey would dare to begin an offensive. Kurds are really bad negotiators, thats why they dont have a country. They are brave and they are better fighters than Turks, Persians and Arabs but they are extremely naive and very bad at politics. Too much emotion.
Scratching myself | 23/12/2018
What do want to do, kill the Europeans soldiers instead or will those also turn around and shoot at us?
Wow | 24/12/2018
And where are the "brave" PKK fighters? I see all these Turkish convoys moving unprotected and slowly through northern Kurdistan, heading for an invasion of Rojava! while PKK is hiding in Basur. Best part is when their fan boys criticize KRG and Peshmerga, even at Saddams height of power his army could never ever move freely like that through ANY southeren Kurdish town or city, Peshmerga would have decimated them! back then a dozen Peshmerga would make an entire Iraqi regiment piss their pants. PKK truely is the biggist failur of all the Kurdish movments.
Azad | 24/12/2018
People suggesting Syrian (Persian) Army can protect PKK are delusional. Assad's army can do nothing when Turkey grounds their air force and without Russian support they stand no chance. Assad is as incapable against a modern army as he was in Afrin. The only way solution that involves Assad is for PKK to hand over the region to him. Kurds will mostly be allowed to stay but it's the end of autonomy. Good bye "Kobane" and hello "Ayn-al-Arab". In other words don't trust Assad. He can't do anything and if he could if he would take everything. People forget how he and his father persecuted Kurds for half a century.
15% | 30/12/2018
The reason kurds are 15% and control 30 % is because kurds are being slaughtered and the so called muslims call there blood hallal so there you have it they killed more then 30% and 30% run away to europa drowning and 30% stand fighting for there god given rights

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