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Turkey proposes special operation with US in Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu addresses the Syrian Turkmen Assembly meeting in Ankara, May 26, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Turkey has proposed to join the United States in a special operation in Syria only if Kurdish fighters are excluded from the offensive.

“If we join forces, they (the Americans) have their own special forces and we have our special forces,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.

“The subject we are discussing with the Americans is the closure of the Manbij pocket as soon as possible,” he said, referring to a backdoor border route used by Daesh terrorists to transport militants into and out of Syria.

However, Cavusoglu stressed the exclusion of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), also known as the YPG, from the operation as a condition for such action.

“We say okay, a second front should be opened but not with the PYD,” he said.

Turkey stands accused of supporting the militants that are fighting against the government in Syria by, among other things, allowing them safe passage into the Arab country via Turkish territory.

Turkey says the YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been engaged in a three-decade fight for autonomy in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast.

Fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are seen in the village of Fatisah in the northern Syrian province of Raqqah, May 25, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Ankara and Washington both consider the PKK a terrorist organization. The United States, however, does not consider the YPG a terrorist group.

The Turkish foreign minister said special forces from Turkey, the US, France, Britain and Germany could also support militants fighting to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Cavusoglu also said a recent deal between Ankara and Washington to deploy US light multiple rocket launchers along the Syrian border to allegedly fight Daesh had been postponed until August. 

“The United States is unfortunately not keeping its promise,” he said. “We are completely ready. Not us, but the US is responsible for the delay.”

On Friday, Turkey slammed the United States for its “two-faced” behavior, saying it is “unacceptable” that US soldiers are backing Kurdish fighters in Syria.

A group of US troops are said to be operating alongside mostly Kurdish fighters belonging to the YPG.

Images recently appeared showing US forces wearing Kurdish insignia on their clothes. Turkey slammed the move, and Washington said the soldiers did not have a permission to do so.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US and Turkey agreed to form a coalition to launch a large-scale military operation in northern Syria.

The Rai al-Youm newspaper, edited by prominent Palestinian journalist Abdul Bari Atwan, on May 16 reported that the campaign would be backed by American and Turkish airstrikes as well as Turkish artillery attacks.


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