Turkey Refuses 'Terrorist Army' on its Border with Syria

Syrian rebels urge US to ‘turn words into action’ & resume military aid

Free Syrian Army envoys have urged USA officials at talks in Washington to resume a suspended Central Intelligence Agency program of military aid if it is serious about challenging growing Iranian influence in Syria, according to Syrian opposition figures.

Military convoys have moved toward the border with Afrin this week. Along with Afrin, Erdogan has also threatened Manbij, a town the Kurdish-led SDF seized from ISIS in 2016.

The National Security council meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was held Wednesday at the presidential complex in Ankara. The U.S. has begun training Syrian Kurds for their new task, and the goal is to, over the next few years, build up a force of up to 30,000 fighters. The US views the YPG as a highly effective fighting force against ISIL. The SDF has been at the forefront of the fight against the "Islamic State" (IS). And while they no longer maintain a hold on urban centers, pockets of Islamic State fighters remain along the Euphrates River Valley, near the border of Iraq and Syria, as well as in desert stretches of both countries.

"We understand that some Americans are skeptical of continued involvement in Syria", Tillerson said, but he argued such engagement is necessary to assure ISIS "do not present a threat to the homeland, and do not resurface in a new form". Russia, the government's ally, warned it was a step towards the partition of Syria.

"The Coalition is working jointly with the Syrian Democratic Forces to establish and train the new Syrian Border Security Force (BSF). The training is created to enhance security for displaced persons returning to their devastated communities", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in a written statement.

"We can not repeat the mistake of 2011, where a premature departure from Iraq allowed al-Qaida in Iraq to survive and eventually become ISIS", Tillerson said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

Turkey's president said Washington was "creating a terror army" and vowed to "suffocate" it. Stoltenberg said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation understood Turkey's concerns regarding the matter, the Daily Sabah newspaper reported.

This could be a significant new development in the Syrian civil war, which is now nearly seven years old. They claim they have no desire for independence.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled an ambitious U.S. strategy for ousting Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Wednesday that relies on an indefinite USA military presence in the country, an insurrection within the Assad regime and a groundswell of support from the beleaguered Syrian people.

The United States has been carrying out its military campaign in Syria since 2014, leading a coalition of nations.

The organisation said the Turkish attacks were aimed at undermining the Northern Syria Democratic Federation and global efforts to solve the Syrian crisis.

"I want to make clear that we'll judge the new government on its actions", she said. Through its position in Syria, Iran is in a stronger position to extend its track record of attacking US interests, allies and personnel in the region.

Russia, the Syrian government's ally, may be key to what happens next. Most cities and population centres, including the Mediterranean coast, are controlled by the regime, while rebels and al-Qaeda-linked jihadists run Idlib province (which is now under attack by regime-Russian forces).

A military truck unloads a tank near the Turkish-Syrian border around Afrin.

The announcement of the border force, which has exposed contradictions between State Department and Pentagon policies in the region, has triggered one of the worst crises in years in the already fraught relationship between Turkey and the United States.

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