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Turkey Escalates Shelling, Says 'No Turning Back' From Syria Invasion

21 January 2018

Rather, he said, the USA military will provide training to local elements to help secure areas that were liberated from Daesh, with United States assistance, over the past three years. But it is not believed to maintain any American forces in Afrin, an enclave that is not linked to the bulk of Kurdish-run territory in Syria.

We review the key developments in Syria, including a government pledge to down any Turkish warplanes that attack the country, Ankara's concerns over plans to establish a Kurdish-led border force and Damascus saying that continued USA deployment in Syria is illegitimate.

Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan had called the US -proposed force an "army of terror", and vowed to crush it.

Turkey's armed forces are striking targets in Syria by land and air, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday, hours after the military launched an operation in Syria's Afrin region.

The Trump administration has been urging Turkey not to attack Afrin, asking Turkish officials to avoid unilateral actions.

Ankara sees the militia as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency in south-eastern Turkey.

An AFP correspondent on the Turkish side of the border saw two war planes launch air strikes inside Syrian territory, sending huge white plumes of smoke into the sky.

But the YPG has been the key ally of Turkey's fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member the United States in the fight against the Daesh terror group extremists, playing a key role in pushing the extremists out of their Syrian strongholds.

"It's unfortunate that entire situation has been mis-portrayed, mis-described, some people misspoke", he said.

Tillerson was reported on Wednesday denying that a border security force will be established, saying the issue has been "misportrayed".

The U.S. -led coalition that has been fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant confirmed earlier this week that it plans to establish the border force over the next few years. "There's no other way out", he said.

"Turkey's stance is open and clear".

The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and EU.

The Kurdish militia now controls almost 25 percent of Syrian territory. It was the USA -led coalition's chief ally in the war against IS in Syria.

Cavusoglu said Turkey wasn't satisfied with the USA explanation, while adding that it has no interest in colliding with the US over the operation.

The Turkish news agency Anadolu reported that Russian forces were leaving the area and that the Turkish army's chief of staff, Hulusi Akar, met with senior Russian defense officials in Moscow on Thursday to seek Russia's support.

Turkey Escalates Shelling, Says 'No Turning Back' From Syria Invasion