TURKEY

US 'playing with fire' with PKK/PYD-led plan in Syria

US PLAYING WITH FIRE WITH PKK/PYD-LED PLAN IN SYRIA

The U.S. is "playing with fire" with its PKK/PYD-led army plan in Syria, Turkish deputy prime minister said on Monday.

"Letting the PYD/YPG -- PKK's branch in Syria -- by the U.S. to establish a so-called terror army for creating a terror corridor in the region on the pretext of combating Daesh, is not a fight against Daesh and terrorist organizations, rather a support to terrorism and terrorist organizations," Bekir Bozdag wrote on his Twitter account.

His remarks came after an American military official said that the U.S.-led international coalition against Daesh will establish a 30,000-strong new border security force with the SDF -- the U.S.-backed group that is largely controlled and manned by the PKK/PYD terrorist organization in Syria.

"The coalition is working jointly with the SDF to establish and train the new Syrian Border Security Force (BSF)," Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition, officially known as Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) said in a written statement sent to Anadolu Agency.

The Turkish deputy prime minister said the U.S.' support for PKK/PYD in Syria "on the ground" to fight Daesh is not compatible with the strategic partnership.

"Turkey will not hesitate to take necessary measures … to protect the security of the country and region against this provocative attempt that threatens the safety of our country and the region," he added.

Turkey has long protested U.S. support for the PKK/PYD, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, and its military wing YPG, while Washington sees it as a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 security forces and civilians -- including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone, when it resumed its armed campaign against the Turkish state following a fragile cease-fire.

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