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Turkey's Erdogan threatens attack on Syria

Turkey's Erdogan threatens attack on Syria

He stressed that any venture in the region "has no chance of success" if Turkey has no consent in it, referring to the YPG's effort to settle in Syria's northern regions along the Turkish border.

He said the attack on Afrin would be an extension of the 2016 Euphrates Shield Operation, which targeted Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters, as well as the YPG.

A military convoy which includes tanks were dispatched Syrian border in Turkey's southern Hatay province, a security source said on Saturday. The eight-month combat effort officially ended in March 2017.

The military operation follows President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call on PKK/PYD terrorists in the Afrin district of Syria's Aleppo province to surrender.

"I hope that during an Afrin operation, these powers will not make the mistake of appearing to be on the same side as a terror organisation", Mr Erdogan said in an apparent reference to the U.S. during a rally in the northern Turkish city of Tokat.

The United States views the YPG as the most effective fighting force against ISIL.

Erdogan said he also expected support from allies in Turkey's fight against terrorism.

American arms shipments, mostly Kalashnikov assault weapons, began ahead of the offensive to recapture the city of Raqqa from ISIL.

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Tensions between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies remain high despite Trump saying last November that Washington would no longer supply weapons to the YPG.

"We expect from our allies that they behave in accordance with the spirit of our deep-rooted relationship during this process", Erdogan said.

A senior Syrian Kurdish official said on Sunday that fighting between the YPG and Turkish forces was already under way. Senior Kurdish official Hediye Yusuf wrote on Twitter that the Turkish operation against Afrin is a "violation" of the Syrian people and undermines worldwide efforts to reach a political solution in Syria.

He declined to comment on possible "rules of engagement" between the border units and Turkish or Syrian troops.

Rojhat Roj, the YPG spokesman in Afrin, told Reuters the shelling was carried out by Turkish forces in Dar Taizaah and Qalat Seman - areas where he said Turkish forces had deployed as part of an agreement with Russian Federation and Iran.

Turkey regards PYD as an affiliate of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara.

Turkey and its Western allies, including the USA, consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

The Turkey-PKK conflict has killed an estimated 40,000 people since 1984 and the resumption of hostilities in July 2015 killed more than 3,300 people, including state security forces, militants and civilians.


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