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Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
World | By Lorena Waters

Turkey threatens further strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds

Turkey threatens further strikes on US-allied Syrian Kurds

In a frame taken from video, US forces patrol Friday on a rural road in northern Syria.

In Istanbul, Erdogan insisted that US support for Kurdish groups "must come to an end", and he said he would bring up the matter at a meeting with President Donald Trump this month.

Pentagon spokesman, Jeff Davis said:"We have U.S. forces that are there throughout the entirety of northern Syria that operate with our Syrian Democratic Force partners".

The Turkish military said the strikes, of which local governments as well as the USA and Russian Federation had been notified, were meant to prevent the PKK from sending terrorists, arms, ammunition, and explosives to Turkey.

Kurdish officials describe the United States troop movement as "buffer" between them and Turkey.

Turkey last week bombed targets of the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, earning the wrath of its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Washington, that said that the Combined Air Operations Centre received less than one-hour notice of the strikes.

"Are we going to leave them unanswered?"

In the meantime, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has remained steadfast as he said that Turkey's operations would continue "until the last terrorist is eliminated". The private Ihlas news agency reported the convoy was heading to southeastern Sanliurfa province from Kilis in the west. The base is 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Syria's Tal Abyad, a town controlled by the Kurdish militia.

Mr Erdogan is due to meet president Donald Trump on May 16 in the U.S., the two men's first face-to-face summit since the American leader took office in January. Earlier this week, Turkish jets launched airstrikes against YPG targets in northern Syria, killing approximately 70 Kurdish fighters. The Turkish military said that it killed at least 90 militants and wounded scores more.

We review the key developments in Syria, including Turkey's renewed threats against USA allies, an important strategic advance against ISIS by the SDF and the Pentagon's report into civilian deaths caused by coalition airstrikes.

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Turkey has also been carrying out operations against Kurdish militants inside its borders.

That operation included a series of clashes between Free Syrian Army rebels, backed by Turkey, and Kurdish forces who vowed to fight to the death to defend their territory. Both Syrian YPG and Iraqi Peshmerga Kurdish militias condemned the attack.

The US sent military vehicles with American flags to the Syrian side of the frontier accompanied by YPG fighters to carry out patrols, in an apparent bid to prevent further fighting.

In Iraq, at least 5,000 USA troops are advising the Iraqi army in the fight against Isis.

"We are willing to go to Khan Sheikhoun and we have undertaken some actions", Ahmet Uzumcu of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told a small group of reporters in The Hague.

Confirming that the proxy war in Syria is becoming ever less so, the US has recently shifted from working quietly behind the scenes in Syria's conflict toward overt displays of USA force in an attempt to shape the fight. "In the worst case scenario you're having Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, a close traditional partner of the United States, could kill American personnel on the ground", he tells TIME.

In Istanbul, Erdogan insisted that USA support for such groups 'must come to an end, ' and said he would bring up the matter at a meeting with President Donald Trump next month.

On Wednesday, Turkish airstrikes attacked both YPG and PKK positions in Syria and Iraq.

The YPG and Syrian government forces have largely avoided confrontation over the course of the country's six-year-long civil war.

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