Turkey summons U.S. charges d'affaires

Sigmar Gabriel pours tea for Mevlut Çavuşoğlu

Turkey has labeled the YPG a terrorist organization over its alleged ties to an ongoing Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) insurgency at home.

Turkey's foreign ministry has summoned a senior USA diplomat to express Ankara's "discomfort" over Washington's support for Syrian Kurdish fighters, state media reported. Turkey, which guaranteed Idlib as a so-called "de-escalation zone, or a safe haven for the Syrian opposition, has protested the offensive on Abu al-Duhur and the mass bombardments".

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had warned Russian Federation and Iran they should adhere to the joint accord they signed with Turkey a year ago in which the three countries announced a "de-escalation zone" in Idlib.

While the U.S. views the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) militia as the most effective fighting force on the ground against Islamic State (IS) extremists, Ankara calls it a "terrorist" organisation linked to outlawed Kurdish militants in Turkey. Still, Moscow believes Ankara's protests are no more than a public stand while in fact Turkey is ready to bargain a deal with Russian Federation to carve up spheres of interest in Syria (Vedomosti, January 11, 2018).

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Ankara has therefore called on Russian Federation and Iran, and rightly so, to cease and desist from their active and open aggression and military involvement in the fighting in the Idlib province and summoned their ambassadors in Ankara for this goal. It has repeatedly condemned Washington's support for the YPG.

Earlier, Cavusoglu said the country doesn't rule out a new military operation against YPG and PYD in Afrin. It remains unclear how or whether the United States, whose military presence is confined to the swath of Syrian Kurdish-controlled territory falling between the Euphrates River and Iraq, can intervene. "They will pay the price for it, if need be", reported Anadolu. In the attack, the rebels apparently struck an officially undisclosed number of aircraft sitting on the tarmac, killing two helicopter pilots and wounding several more service personnel.

Damascus has been scoring military successes against the rebel groups in the area thanks to Russian air support and active involvement of Iran-backed militias.

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