The Pentagon announced Tuesday that American observation posts in northern Syria, meant to prevent altercations between the Turkish army and US-supported Kurdish militia, have been erected, despite Ankara’s request to scrap the move.
US support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has strained relations with Turkey, which fears the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish region on its southern border.
“At the direction of Secretary (James) Mattis, the US established observation posts in the northeast Syria border region to address the security concerns of our NATO ally Turkey,” Department of Defense spokesman Rob Manning said.
ALSO READ: Turkey protests US observation posts in north Syria
Mattis announced in November that the US military was in the process of installing the observation posts. The measure aimed to reassure the YPG, which Turkey considers a “terrorist” group but which is the spearhead of the international fight against ISIS.
“We take Turkish security concerns seriously and we are committed to coordinating our efforts with Turkey to bring stability to northeastern Syria,” Manning added.
The Turkish army since 2016 has already launched two military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria, the last of which saw Ankara-backed Syrian rebels take the border city of Afrin in March.
After Turkey shelled Kurdish militia posts in northern Syria in late October the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the YPG is the backbone, announced the suspension of their operations against IS for several days, to the embarrassment of Washington.
ALSO READ: 250,000 Syrian refugees could return home next year - UNHCR
During a meeting with US Special Envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, in Ankara on Friday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had asked that Washington scrap the observation posts.
Akar also called for the US to end its cooperation with the YPG. Syria’s long-oppressed Kurdish minority has established a semi-autonomous region in the north of the war-torn country.
Turkey protests US observation posts in north SyriaTurkey on Saturday sharply criticized a US plan to put observation posts in northern Syria so as to help prevent clashes between Turkish forces and a ... Middle East
Syria: The Russia-Turkey summit was a missed opportunityEarlier this week Russian President Vladimir Putin, still beaming from his re-election victory, tried to heighten his global profile with a ... Middle East
Turkey FM: Military solution in Syria’s idlib ‘will cause catastrophe’Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Friday, that seeking a military solution in Syria’s last rebel-held province of Idlib would ... Middle East
Macron warns Turkey against ‘invasion’ of SyriaFrench President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview Wednesday that he would have a “real problem” with Turkey’s intervention ... Middle East