Turkey’s authorities continued to rail against the U.S. for a coalition plan to form a new force in northern Syria to protect borders, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan directly accusing Washington of establishing an “army of terror” on the Turkish border.
President Erdogan vowed that “Turkey will drown this army of terror” before it fully comes to being. Turkey’s preparations, he said, are complete and an operation against Afrin and Manbij is imminent.
He even warned of accidental casualties for U.S. troops who are closely working with Kurdish militia in Syria.
A report by The Defense Post ruffled feathers in Ankara. It revealed a U.S. plan to form a 30,000-strong new border force whose backbone will be Kurdish fighters.
“The Coalition is working jointly with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to establish and train the new Syrian Border Security Force (BSF). Currently, there are approximately 230 individuals training in hte BSF’s inaugural class, with the goal of a final force size of approximately 30,000,” CJTF-OIR Public Affairs Officer Colonel Thomas F. Veale told The Defense Post.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on the U.S. to choose its side: Turkey or “terrorists.”
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) January 15, 2018
The Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted in a statement, assailing the initiative.
“Turkey, as a member of the Coalition, was not consulted with regard to the establishment of the so-called “Syrian Border Security Force,” the ministry said, expressing dismay.
“Such initiatives endangering our national security and Syria’s territorial integrity through the continuation of cooperation with PYD/YPG in contradiction with the commitments and statements made by the U.S. are unacceptable,” it added.