At Syrian front line, US, Turkey on opposing sides


On Thursday, one commander, Abu Ali Nejm, said USA troops have increased their presence "in a noticeable way" in the area in recent days to prevent an eruption of violence, following the capture of Afrin, Turkey's threats and a recent build-up of Turkish troops and allies.

Turkey has since then threatened to attack the SDF-controlled town of Manbij in Syria bordering Afrin, which was taken from IS in 2016 - and where the USA has stationed troops.

Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which enjoys the support of Washington against the ISIS militants and the Syrian regular army since the beginning of the Syrian civil war seven years ago.

He said coalition offensive operations had been limited as a result of events in northwest Syria, where the SDF and YPG have been fighting a Turkish incursion targeting the YPG in the Afrin region.

After Macron's meeting Thursday with members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Kurdish figures claimed that the French leader had promised to send troops to Manbij near Syria's border with Turkey.

Towards that end, Turkey and the USA have established working groups to discuss a number of issues, including the stabilization of Manbij, Syria and preventing any undesirable clashes.

Ankara accuses Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric, of orchestrating the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, and has declared his movement a terrorist organisation.

Mr Macron's offer came after he met a delegation of Syrian and Arab fighters in Paris on Thursday. Ankara said that Turkey would conduct a military operation similar to the one conducted in other regions in northern Syria if the requirement is ignored.

"France's assurance of support for PYD/YPG/YPJ terror organisations is clear cooperation and solidarity with terror groups attacking Turkey", wrote Bozdag on Twitter.

Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic said his country would continue to cooperate with Turkey to prevent "any activity that may endanger Bosnia's stability or its relations with Turkey".

France is not planning any new military operation in northern Syria beyond its existing commitments to the US-led worldwide anti-ISIS coalition, the presidential office said on Friday. "We hope France does not take such an irrational step".

On March 18, Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army liberated Afrin city from PYD/YPG terrorists. "I was forced to point it out to him, even if the tone was a bit raised", he said, without giving details.