The U.S.-led coalition is committing to the creation of a 30,000-strong local force to protect Syria’s border regions for the ostensible purpose of preventing insurgencies, but Turkey is outraged at the idea of a force near its border.
In an announcement Sunday, Coalition spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon told AFP that because direct combat operations against the Islamic State are starting to draw to a close, the new focus is on re-purposing local militias like the Syrian Democratic Forces to work on border security.
“There is a goal of a final force of approximately 30,000,” Dillon said.
“There are approximately 230 individuals that are training right now in the border security force. That’s an inaugural class,” Dillon added.
Such a strong force on the Syrian border provoked sharp and quick outrage from Turkey, who believes that the U.S. is now fully legitimizing the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), that it considers to be a terror group. YPG fighters make up a considerable portion of SDF.
“Rather than end its support to the PYD-YPG, these steps taken to legitimise a terror organisation and to make it permanent in the region are worrying,” Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told AFP.
“Accepting this state of affairs is absolutely not possible,” Kalin continued.
Erdogan threatened Sunday to attack Kurdish positions in northern Syria in response to news from the U.S.-led coalition.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported on Jan. 9 drawing from local, anonymous sources that both the Pentagon and CIA were intimately involved in training this new border force supposed called “The North Army.”
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