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Turkey to take 'any steps necessary immediately' to 'defeat threats'

18 January 2018, 01:49 | Katrina Lee

Syrian Kurds Ask for International Help After Turkish Threats

Syrian Kurds Urge UN Action to Prevent Turkish Invasion

"It is also essential so that ISIS can not re-emerge in liberated and ungoverned areas", he said, using another acronym for Daesh. He clarified America's intentions, which he said were to provide training to local elements in areas liberated from the Islamic State group. Turkey has called the force a terrorist army and vowed to crush it. Iran said on Tuesday creation of the SDF force would "fan the flames of war", echoing the vehement response of Syria, Turkey and Russian Federation. Only when security had improved significantly during the surge and Sunni awakening movements did the two countries strike an agreement for the USA withdrawal at the end of 2011.

The force would operate along the Turkish border with Iraq and within Syria along the Euphrates River. Through its position in Syria, Iran is in a stronger position to extend its track record of attacking US interests, allies and personnel in the region.

He said it was crucial for the U.S.to maintain a military presence to prevent an Islamic State resurgence and avoid the "mistakes" of Iraq.

Tillerson said free, transparent elections in which the Syrian diaspora participate "will result in the permanent departure of Assad and his family from power". "But the United States will continue to remain engaged".

On Jan. 16, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that military operations in Syria's Afrin city against Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) will begin very soon.

U.S. officials said the plan was to train about 30,000 personnel - half of them SDF fighters - to help prevent infiltration by IS militants across the Turkish and Iraqi borders and parts of the River Euphrates, which effectively divides SDF- and Syrian government-held regions.

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Speaking earlier at Stanford, Tillerson indicated the US would address Turkey's concern about "PKK terrorists" - a reference to a Kurdish group inside Turkey. "Turkey's security concerns are legitimate", it said.

Officials won't say whether Canada will help with the new border force in Syria - or if it even agrees with the initiative - despite repeated requests for comment.

Turkey has sent reinforcements to its border in recent weeks and Erdogan said this week that Turkish troops were already firing artillery at Afrin from the border. Several French jihadis had at one point risen to prominent positions in the organization, such as top propagandist Rachid Kassim, now believed to be dead after a USA airstrike.

"We don't consider them as part of our "Defeat ISIS" operations, which is what we are doing there and we do not support them ... [But] we won't go looking for them", Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told BFMTV and RMC radio at that time.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said relations between Turkey and the United States would be "irreversibly harmed" if Washington moves to form a 30,000-strong army in the north of Syria.

"The coalition's mission has not changed: to defeat ISIS in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and set conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability", USA army Colonel Ryan Dillon was quoted as saying by the Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

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