Northern Syria protest against planned Turkish invasion in Afrin

Northern Syria protest against planned Turkish invasion in Afrin

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the U.S.' intention was to train local forces to fight remaining Daesh militants in Syria, adding that the planned force had been "misportrayed".

Syria threatened on Thursday to "destroy" any Turkish warplanes that fly into its territory as Ankara prepares to launch a cross-border military operation to wipe out Kurdish fighters it calls "terrorists".

Tillerson reached out to Ankara Wednesday, saying it deserved an explanation and that the "entire situation has been mis-portrayed, mis-described; some people misspoke".

Instead, Tillerson stressed that USA forces would remain in Syria for the foreseeable future as President Donald Trump and his aides implement a new strategy to stabilize Syria, where a civil war has killed as many as a half-million people and created millions of refugees since 2011. "No, it did not", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN-Turk television in an interview.

The ongoing escalation saw Damascus push back.

On Thursday, Turkish artillery struck targets in the YPG-controlled region of Afrin in northwestern Syria, as Turkey appeared to continue preparations for an invasion.

A military statement said Turkish Gen. Hulusi Akar and intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, would meet with Russia's military chief Valery Gerasimov to discuss regional security issues, developments in Syria and ongoing peace efforts for the war-torn country.

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Yet executing the operation on the ground - especially against a well-populated urban centre such as Afrin - could prove much harder than making threats in fiery language. Turkish air support in any Syrian incursion, considered vital by experts, would depend on Moscow's permission, given its deployment of surface-to-air missile batteries in Syria.

"We're not involved with them at all", Rankine-Galloway told Anadolu.

Most observers now focus on the implications of a Turkish offensive against the main USA ally in the war against ISIS to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of which Turkey and the United States are the most prominent members. So they will try and find some solution. "We should be coordinated when we intervene so that the Russian monitoring troops are not negatively affected or confronted", he noted.

The prime minister on Thursday said the USA should end confusion over Syria's future and change its policy in Syria to mend relations with Turkey.

Fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) stand guard at the site of Turkish airstrikes near northeastern Syrian Kurdish town of Derik, known as al-Malikiyah in Arabic, on April 25, 2017. Turkey steadfastly opposes the move, claiming "terrorists" have no place at the talks.

"The training is created to enhance security for displaced persons returning to their devastated communities", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in a stunning written statement sent to Anadolu Agency as Turkey readies to launch an operation against Syria's Afrin to clear the area of terrorists.

Analysts suggest such brinkmanship carries serious risks.

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