The Turkish military have reportedly deployed more than 40 armored vehicles along its Southern border with Syria.
Military sources told the Anadolu Agency that two dozen armored vehicles entered the Reyhanli district of Turkeys southeastern Hatay province.
The source also said that a convoy of 20 military vehicles including tanks arrived in the Sanliurfa province in South East Turkey, to provide assistance to the military units already deployed to the Syrian border.
Press TV reports: The US infuriated its NATO partner Turkey on Sunday by announcing that Washington and a coalition of its allies purportedly fighting Daesh will work with US-backed militants of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to set up a new 30,000-strong “border security” force.
The force would operate along the Turkish border with Iraq and within Syria along the Euphrates River.
Washington also said it is supplying weapons and training to anti-Damascus militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the SDF’s main backbone. Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist group and the Syrian arm of the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for independence over the past decades.
The US had promised to take back the weapons from Kurdish militants once Daesh falls.
Reacting to the US military’s announcement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Washington is “building an army of terror” on the border with Syria,” and that “it is our responsibility to suffocate this effort before it is born.”
He also threatened an attack on Afrin “in the days ahead” to clear the northwestern Syrian town of “terrorists.” The city is controlled by Kurdish militants.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu echoed Erdogan’s remarks, urging the US to clarify its stance.
“The US must clarify which side it is on, whether it chooses to be with its allies or terror groups,” he said, warning, “We will take our own measures [against terror groups] regardless of who backs them; whether it is the US or other countries, it doesn’t matter to us.”
In August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield. Ankara said the campaign was aimed at pushing Daesh terrorists from Turkey’s border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish forces.
Turkey ended its Syria offensive in March 2017, but has kept its military presence there.
Syria has voiced strong opposition to both Turkish and American military actions on its soil, repeatedly calling on the two NATO allies to pull their forces out.
Washington’s border force plan drew angry reactions from both Syria and Russia, with Damascus describing it as a “blatant assault” on its sovereignty.
Russia also said the US was seeking to split the Syrian territory.
“In fact, that means separation of a huge territory along the border with Turkey and Iraq,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “The actions we currently see indicate that the United States does not want to keep the territorial integrity of Syria.”