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Hundreds of Kurdish, IS fighters killed in Syria's Afrin: Turkey
25 January 2018, 01:45 | Colleen Roy
Success in Afrin operation will avert risks to Turkish economy: Finance Minister Ağbal
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said theoffensive distracted from efforts to defeat Islamic State.
Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish YPG a terror group and an extension of the Kurdish insurgency within its own borders. The U.S. cut ties with the special forces under a 1997 law that banned U.S. training for foreign military units accused of human rights violations. The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders criticized the detentions as a "witch hunt against critics". Both the United States and Turkey might support an autonomous YPG enclave as long as it is not affiliated with the PKK.
Washington also appears to be addressing Ankara's concerns that USA assistance to the YPG might present a direct military threat to Turkey by monitoring the quality and quantity of weapons and ammunition provided to YPG forces to guard against them ending up in the hands of the PKK across the border in Turkey.
Turkey has killed at least 260 Syrian Kurdish fighters and ISIS militants in its four-day-old offensive into the Afrin region of northwest Syria, the Turkish military said.
Commenting on Turkish threats to expand the offensive into the Syrian Kurdish town of Manbij, the official says Washington's "number one concern is the safety and security troops in the vicinity".
"Our goal is not to clash with Russians, the Syrian regime or the USA, it is to battle the terrorist organisation", he said.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on worldwide law, UN Security Council's decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The offensive has triggered protests in both Syria and some European capitals with concerns raised about civilians.
They also denouncing what they said was Russia's "betrayal" for allowing the military offensive to happen. A number of analysts say Russian Federation has been engaged for some time in trying to draw Turkey out of the USA orbit of influence.
United States officials are telling the Turks they will help them figure out a negotiated solution that will address their concerns about the Kurds.
Turkey's president says its incursion into a Kurdish-held enclave in Syria is progressing "successfully" and will continue until the last "terrorist" is eliminated.
YPG fighters form the backbone of the US -backed SDF, despite protests by Turkey. "We will not live with fear and threats", Cavusoglu said.
"We fought Daesh from the beginning, it was us who liberated the land from Daesh and now we're the target of Turkish injustice", he said. He said Turkish troops have suffered seven or eight losses.
Thus far, Turkey has condemned the US for supporting and supplying the YPG with arms.
According to Pentagon estimates, the YPG contributes 27,000 troops to the 50,000-strong Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are supported by the U.S. in fighting the Syrian government as well as ISIS. Critical is the opinion of Russian Federation, which has a military presence in the area and a cordial relationship with the YPG but is also working with Turkey to bring an end to the seven-year Syrian civil war.
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