World: Turkey Sees U.S. Deal as Start of Wider Purge of Kurdish Militia - PressFrom - US
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WorldTurkey Sees U.S. Deal as Start of Wider Purge of Kurdish Militia

14:10  25 august  2019
14:10  25 august  2019 Source:   bloomberg.com

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey criticized a proposed American-trained force that could put thousands of Kurdish militia on the Turkish border. The allied military headquarters in Baghdad that is leading the fight against the Islamic State in Syria said Sunday that it had started recruiting and

Turkey will launch a new military operation in northern Syria within days, targeting Kurdish militia But Erdogan’ s patience with Washington over Syria - specifically a deal to clear the YPG from the “We will start the operation to clear the east of the Euphrates from separatist terrorists in a few days.

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey sees its deal with the U.S. to carve out a narrow security zone in northern Syria as just the beginning, two Turkish officials said, with Ankara determined to purge Kurdish fighters from a much larger section of the border region.

Turkey Sees U.S. Deal as Start of Wider Purge of Kurdish Militia© ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, July 15, 2019, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at a rally to honour the victims of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, in Istanbul. “We can be patient up to a point and that patience has a limit,” the charismatic leader Erdogan said Sunday Aug. 4, 2019, arguing Turkey would protect itself from "harassment" by Kurdish YPG militia in Syria. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, FILE)

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Turkey on Sunday continued a major attack inside northwestern Syria on a Kurdish militia it has called a "terror army" that presents a danger to Turkish The U . S . has repeatedly armed and trained the YPG, which it sees as a vital partner in its fight against ISIS. Ankara, however, sees the YPG as

Turkish and U . S . soldiers have started independent patrols in northern Syria along the line separating Turkish -controlled areas from the town Earlier this month Turkey and the United States endorsed a tentative deal to overcome months of dispute over the town, in which the Kurdish YPG militia would

After weeks of difficult negotiations, the NATO allies agreed this month to jointly patrol an area stretching 125 kilometers (78 miles) between the Syrian towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, and up to 15 kilometers deep, according to the officials, who have direct knowledge of the talks but asked not to be identified in line with regulations barring them from talking to the media.

While the agreement should allow Turkey’s military to move into northeast Syria without firing a shot, the country could unleash a unilateral incursion if the zone isn’t deepened and extended by as much as several hundred kilometers at a later date, they said.

The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment on the Turkish plans.

Turkey has deployed 10 brigades along its frontier between the Euphrates River and the Iraqi border to confront an estimated 15,000 members of the Kurdish YPG, the officials added.

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Turkey and the United States agreed on a method and timetable for the withdrawal of Kurdish militants from Syria' s Manbij, government spokesman Bekir U . S . Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the State Department in Washington, U . S ., June 4, 2018.

Turkey launched an operation targeting Kurdish fighters in Afrin on Saturday, opening new front lines in the seven-year Syrian civil war, just as ISIS fighters in the country have been all but defeated. The Turkish military said in a statement Tuesday it had killed 260 Kurdish militia and ISIS fighters in Afrin.

A joint Turkish-U.S. headquarters designed to oversee a buffer zone in northern Syria became “fully operational” on Saturday, state-run Anadolu Agency reported, citing Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. A first helicopter flight over the zone, which will be off-limits to U.S.-backed YPG forces, was planned for Saturday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has declared the YPG -- which took control of swaths of northern Syria as security collapsed during that country’s civil war -- a mortal enemy. That’s because of its links to another Kurdish separatist movement, the PKK, which Turkey has been fighting for over three decades and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union.

Power Play?

Erdogan’s desire to force the militia away from Turkey’s frontier is complicated by the presence of U.S. troops originally stationed in the region to aid the YPG in their joint fight against now largely vanquished Islamic State jihadists.

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How the Turkish president’ s sweeping purge of political opponents would look if Americans were targeted at Some academics who signed a petition this year protesting the government’ s war against Kurdish Sources: World Bank ( U . S . and Turkish Armies), Eurostat ( Turkey ’ s police and judges)

An extensive purge of the Turkish civil service began with Erdoğan warning his opponents that "they will Starting in September, the purges pushed upon the largely Kurdish HDP political formation. See also: Media freedom in Turkey . Turkish journalists protesting imprisonment of their colleagues

Ties between Ankara and Washington have stumbled from crisis to crisis in recent years. Given the mistrust, Turkey suspects the U.S. backs the YPG’s aspiration for some form of Kurdish self-rule, and that it’s using the group as a proxy force to defend American interests as Syria’s eight-year war nears its end with President Bashar al-Assad still in power thanks to his Russian and Iranian allies.

The Turkish-U.S. agreement foresees the immediate withdrawal of YPG fighters from the buffer zone, with the U.S. collecting heavy weapons it had supplied to the group, the officials said. Fortified Kurdish positions and tunnels were to be destroyed, they said. Turkey wants members of the YPG’s political wing, called the PYD, to leave the area as well.

The YPG, or People’s Protection Units, are affiliated with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party. Both deny they are enemies of Turkey and say they seek only to protect Syria’s Kurds.

About Kurdish Forces U.S. Would Leave Behind in Syria: QuickTake

The deal allows for Turkish armed drones to start surveillance flights over the zone but the U.S. hasn’t yet agreed to overflights by Turkish warplanes, the officials said. The U.S. also opposes Turkey’s proposal to move Ankara-backed rebels of the Free Syrian Army to the area, but did agree that refugees living in Turkey could return, they said.

Joint military patrols are expected to start within a month and Turkey will set up four bases ahead of the creation a local security force, the officials said.

Turkish demands to be able to deploy as many troops as it considers necessary to enforce security were rebuffed, with the U.S. agreeing only to the deployment of two Turkish soldiers for every American soldier, they added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at [email protected], Mark Williams

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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