Published: Sat, November 03, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Turkish military says 260,000 Syrians returned to 'Euphrates Shield' operation area

Turkish military says 260,000 Syrians returned to 'Euphrates Shield' operation area

The state-run Anadolu news agency said four Kurdish fighters were killed and six were wounded in the attack on Wednesday.

"We have finished all our preparations [and] plans ... regarding the issue", Erdogan added.

Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and is listed as a terror group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

In a new spike in tensions along the border, Turkey said its military shelled Kurdish positions across the border in Syria, east of the Euphrates River.

Turkish and US troops patrolled around the Saju Stream, which separates the Manbij frontline from the city of Jarabulus, an area falling under Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, according to Anadolu Agency reporters on the ground. "We can come suddenly any night", he said.

In the multi-sided conflict, IS fighters have been driven from almost all of the self-proclaimed "caliphate" they controlled in Syria and Iraq by a range of foes including the US-led coalition, the Iraqi government, the Russian-backed Syrian government and Iran-backed paramilitaries.

The SDF accused Turkey of supporting the ISIS militants in their advances, saying it was responsible for "temporarily stopping the battle to fight terrorism carried out by our forces against the last holdout of the terrorist group".

Turkish military advances into northern Syria over the past two years have put U.S. forces backing Kurdish YPG fighters directly in the path of advancing troops from Turkey. "Our forces are consolidating their positions defensively", he said.

Last week, IS jihadists staged a counterattack following a weeks-long SDF offensive in the countryside around Hajin.

When asked whether Kurdish fighters in eastern Syria would be recalled to the north to boost defences, the YPG spokesman said there were enough fighters in the Kobani region to foil a Turkish attack, but fighters would be recalled if needed.

For now, Russian Federation seems to support Turkey's military moves on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

A total of 260,000 Syrian nationals have returned to a swathe of land in northern Syria where Turkey carried out a cross-border operation dubbed "Euphrates Shield", Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on November 1.

Turkish and Coalition military forces have conducted more than 60 independent, coordinated patrols outside of Manbij since June 2018, Ghika said.

Earlier this year, Turkey and the USA agreed the YPG militia would withdraw from Manbij.

The strategic town lies west of the Euphrates and was taken by SDF forces from the Islamic State in 2016.

On Wednesday, the SDF said the Turkish attacks had forced it to suspend its USA -backed campaign against Islamic State near the Iraqi border.

Ankara has already backed Syrian rebels to push the Kurdish forces out of the northern enclave of Afrin earlier this year.

"The terror organisation should know that they will be buried in the trenches when the time and place comes", Mr Akar said.

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