The US is doubling down in Syria - but officials won't say why

Turkey is still in talks with Russian Federation and the United States over a possible operation against the city of Afrin in north Syria, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday.

Ties between the two countries have been strained over US support for the Syrian Democratic forces, the mainly Kurdish-led militias fighting Islamic State in northern Syria with the help of USA forces.

The comments - reported by Turkey's Anadolu news agency - came after senior Turkish officials threatened an imminent attack against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey has long protested the USA support for the PYD/PKK, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, and its military wing PYG, while Washington sees it as a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.

An estimated 8,000-10,000 YPG soldiers are operating in the Afrin region in Syria's Aleppo province, which borders Turkey's Hatay and Kilis areas.

The Turkish government has led the charge because it views the Syrian Kurds who form the backbone of the Syrian Defence Forces as terrorists, and an extension of the Kurdish insurgency raging in Turkey's southeast.

"We can not and will not allow support and arming of the YPG terrorist group under the name of an operational partner". Sejari said the delegation's meetings had included members of the U.S. Congress and officials from the White House, and they hoped for sessions with Defense Department and State Department officials as well. He clarified America's intentions, which he said were to provide training to local elements in areas liberated from the Islamic State group.

"We are not operating in Afrin".

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It is also not clear if U.S. military personnel are deployed around Manbij, as they were a year ago.

Russian Federation and Syria also condemned the United States plan as a violation of Syria's sovereignty.

"The global coalition and its partners remain united and committed to the lasting defeat of Daesh and to preventing its exportation of terror around the world".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday vowed to "drown this army of terror before it is born".

The U.S. -led coalition recently said it is planning a 30,000-strong Kurdish-led border force, further angering Turkey.

He asked countries to choose between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation responsibilities or collaboration with "marauders". "The training is created to enhance security for displaced persons returning to their devastated communities", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in a stunning written statement sent to Anadolu Agency as Turkey readies to launch an operation against Syria's Afrin to clear the area of terrorists.

"The Coalition remains focused on our support to the Syrian Democratic Forces in defeating remaining ISIS pockets in eastern Syria", Dillon said. "Furthermore, they do not pose any threat to any other country in the region", the Public Affairs Office told Al Jazeera. That was a barely veiled threat that he will use force against American troops if they try to stop him from attacking the Syrian Kurds.

Late on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was attending a conference in Vancouver, Canada, where he met US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, warned that any Turkish military operations could reach beyond Afrin.

  • Adam Floyd