Syria denounces US-led coalition 'border force' plan

Syria denounces US-led coalition 'border force' plan

Kerry Wise
January 16, 2018

The Syrian government denounced a new border force which the United States (US) is building with its militia allies in northern Syria as a "blatant assault" on sovereignty, state media said on Monday.

The US-led coalition's announcement that it will now be training a border force comprising SDF fighters and recruits signals a fresh phase in Washington's commitment to Syria's Kurdish militants as it looks for ways to stabilise the territories they have recaptured.

Turkey can not afford to let the United States - or any other country, for that matter - create an army of terrorists across its southern border.

Mr Erdogan has said the Kurdish YPG militia is trying to establish a "terror corridor" on Turkey's southern border, linking Afrin with a large Kurdish-controlled area to the east.

American officials said at the weekend that the new force was needed as the focus shifted from fighting IS extremists to border security in northern Syria.

"Our mission is to strangle it before it's even born", the Turkish president added. The aim of the force will be to protect territory held mainly by Kurds. The imminent transformation of the SDF into the BSF marks the next step in Washington's efforts to legitimize and perpetuate its cooperation with the PKK affiliate in northern Syria.

Turkish artillery shelled the Kurdish-held area of Afrin in northwestern Syria for the third day on Monday, as Ankara threatened to act on long-running threats to root out Kurdish forces from near its border.

"The Trump team views Syria as irresistibly fragmented, as a fact and the result of the nature of the Syrian civil war, and President Trump is now responsible for the USA zone of influence", he said.

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Islamic State was effectively defeated a year ago, but Washington says its troops are prepared to stay to make sure the Islamist militant group can not return.

Speaking today at the opening of an Ankara factory, Erdogan said it was his Government's duty "to drown this terrorist force before it is born".

From the beginning, Ankara has been opposed to USA support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is nothing but a cover for the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which the US and European Union have long recognized as a terrorist group.

Youssef said delegates from the U.S. State Department, whom she met in northern Syria last week, made it clear that U.S. forces would not leave before a political settlement.

The Syrian army is determined to drive out the US from any involvement in the country, state television reported on Monday.

For much of the war, the United States and Turkey worked together, jointly supporting forces fighting against Assad's government.

A source of Syrian foreign Ministry declared SANA that " Syrian people and army are determined to thwart this conspiracy, to end presence of United States and its agents in Syria and to restore legitimate authority throughout territory".