Turkey’s President Erdogan said the US formation of a 30,000 YPG militants on its border with Syria would be dealt with and the country’s armed forces were ready to start operations.
US admission that it is backing the formation of a 30,000 strong army consisting of YPG militants has drawn the ire of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish president said on Monday that the country was prepared to counter the threat from the army.
“The US has admitted to forming a terrorist army along the Turkish border," he said on Monday, vowing that Turkey would kill that army before it was born.
“The US created a terror organisation with 30,000 people and has provided them with 4,800 truckloads of arms as of now. Whatever you send them, the army of 30,000 you have created, will not be able to represent you there.”
Turkey has long protested US support for the YPG, while Washington has brushed off these criticisms, saying it needs the terror group’s help to fight Daesh in Syria.
TRT World's Andrew Hopkins has the latest from Ankara.
Ready to start operations
Turkey is ready “at any moment” to start an operation in a besieged border area of Syria, said Erdogan.
“The Turkish Armed Forces will resolve the Afrin and Manbij issue as soon as possible. Our preparations are finalised, an operation may start at any moment,” Erdogan told a gathering in the capital, Ankara.
Turkish military units are already deployed near Afrin, a district of Aleppo near the Turkish-Syria border.
The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and EU.
The PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 security forces and civilians – including more than 1,200 since July 2015.
An Afrin operation would follow Turkey's successful seven-month Operation Euphrates Shield, which ended in March 2017.
As TRT World's Joseph Hayat reports, Ankara has sent military reinforcements to Syrian borders.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag earlier on Monday warned the United States on Twitter it was "playing with fire" and its actions were "not compatible with friendship, alliance or a strategic partnership."
On Sunday, an American military official said that the US-led international coalition against Daesh would establish a 30,000-strong new border security force with the SDF – the US-backed group that is controlled and manned by the YPG militants.