Turkey's military is gearing up for an all-out offensive on areas now held by Kurdish militia in northern Syria, local media reported on Thursday. The YPG is an ally of the United States and has provided America intelligence for airstrikes against ISIS for years.
Late Tuesday, Turkish army retaliated with artillery fire at the YPG forces in northern Syria after the Kurdish militia targeted Turkey-backed rebels.
The announcement came just days after the USA told Turkey it will take back weapons supplied to the YPG in northern Syria after the defeat of Daesh.
"We will respond to any Turkish attacks on Rojava-Northern Syria".
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However, at this time, there have been no signs that YPG commanders or fighters plan to re-deploy from Raqqa to northern Syria as a result of the increasing hostilities between Ankara and the Kurds, according to a spokesperson at U.S. Central Command. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated the Turkish troops are in Syria to "end the rule of the tyrant Assad", though he later backtracked on that sentiment.
On Thursday, Kurtulmus repeated the Turkish government's criticism of the USA administration and called the arming of the YPG a result of U.S. "indecision".
The United States treats the YPG and the PKK as separate entities. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis suggested on June 27 that the USA may continue to arm the Kurds after the battle of Raqqa. And he also sounded a cautionary tone when asked if all the weapons would be returned.
Mattis' comments marked the first time he has spoken at length publicly about the US pledge to recover the weapons provided to the Kurds.
Mattis said the USA has made it clear all along that, "we're going to equip them for the fight". Secretary of Defense James Mattis was even more direct, predicting that the situation would be even more complex after the fall of Raqqa.
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The Pentagon says the USA has seen chemical weapons activity at a Syrian air base that was used for an April sarin gas attack. The UK would support any United States attack on Assad so long as it was proportionate, legal and necessary, Fallon added.