Turkey threatens to ‘intervene’ if Syrian Kurds don’t withdraw

Turkey on Thursday said it had “every right” to intervene if Syrian Kurdish militia do not withdraw east of the Euphrates River in Syria, as promised by the United States.


The Syrian Kurdish forces “must move to the east of the Euphrates and Turkey is following this very closely,” Defense Minister Fikri Isik told NTV television.


He was speaking on a day in which Ankara launched an operation in Syria on Wednesday
aimed both at the Islamic State group (ISIS) and Syrian Kurdish forces.


“If this withdrawal doesn’t happen, Turkey has every right to intervene,” Isik added.


Turkey has said the operation in Syria is aimed not just at IS jihadists but also the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.


Turkey sees the YPG as a terror group bent on carving out an autonomous region in Syria.


Ankara’s hostility to the YPG puts it at loggerheads with its NATO ally, the United States, which works with the group on the ground in the fight against ISIS.


US Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Turkey on Wednesday, made clear that Washington has strictly told the YPG not to move west of the Euphrates and would no longer receive American support if they did.


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