World Bulletin / News Desk
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the Syrian PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party's (PYD) and People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, crossed the Euphrates in Syria on Thursday, something that Ankara has said is a redline as a national security threat.
As part of an extensive operation carried out by the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition forces that have been in Aleppo province's town of Manbij, militants and armored vehicles from the SDF crossed west of the river on ferries to join the ground operation that is supported by the U.S. airpower.
Speaking at a press conference in Kenya Thursday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the U.S. assured Turkey that mostly Arab forces will conduct the operation in Manbij instead of the YPG. "The main forces are Arab militants. That is what we were told," he said.
Ankara has reiterated that the YPG crossing west of the Euphrates is a red line, calling it the PYD expansionist policies under the guise of fighting ISIL. The YPG aims to advance from two directions in the area located between Azaz and Jarablous in northern Syria, where Ankara has planned to establish a safe zone.
Erdoğan had said in a live televised interview that Turkey will take the necessary steps to prevent PYD extremist in northern Syria. "Turkey does not need to obtain permission from anyone to interfere in the region to secure its borders," he asserted.
The YPG proceeded to the Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates, again with aid from U.S. airstrikes, creating a stepping stone for their advance on the western bank of the river on Dec. 27. After the YPG took control of the Tishrin Dam, the nearby town of Manbij, which is currently under ISIL control, has become a possible destination for the group's expansion.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Haziran 2016, 17:44