United States says Turkey to explain Syria Force

Members of a union protest Turkey's state of emergency outside the Labor Ministry in Ankara

Reuters reports that the Turkish military fired on positions held by three Kurdish-majority groups including the YPG, a militia of Syrian Kurdish fighters that had been allied with coalition forces in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"The Afrin operation has de-facto been started on the ground", said Erdogan, adding, "This will be followed by Manbij".

Turkey's Euphrates Shield Operation initially had started in Syria in August 2016 to defeat the ISIS, which later began to target the Syrian Kurdish units.

Turkey says the YPG is a terrorist group and a branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party which has waged an insurgency in southeast Turkey for decades, and Canikli criticized Washington for its continued emphasis on countering Islamic State.

Turkey has in recent days sent dozens of military vehicles and hundreds of troops to the border area.

Five Syrian civilians were wounded on Saturday in a Turkish bombardment on the outskirts of Syria's Kurdish-held northwest city of Afrin, local authorities there said.

What comes as a surprise is a response to the announcement by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who said that they would "strangle" the force before it's even born.

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Sporadic cross-border artillery exchanges between the two sides have been ongoing at least since August, but increased on Thursday after the United States announced it would maintain and train a 30,000-strong Kurdish force in northern and eastern Syria to stabilize the regions against ISIS.

They said the "sudden and unjustified" attacks on Afrin "threatens to breath new life" in Isis which the militants are now fighting.

Mr Erdogan also urged North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to stop the U.S. helping the SDF create a "border security force" to protect its territory in Syria. It is the USA -led coalition's chief ally in the campaign against the Islamic State in Syria.

The PYD/YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the us and the EU.

While Turkish diplomats, military officials and intelligence chiefs are in Moscow in an attempt to gain access to the Russian-controlled airspace above Afrin and approval from Iran, the Syrian regime made clear its opposition to a military move.

United States officials said at the weekend that the new force was needed as the focus shifted from fighting IS extremists to border security in northern Syria.

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