Syria war: Turkey denounces US ‘terror army’ plan for border

Syria is no stranger to conflict. The Syrian Civil War, a multi sided conflict between the government of President Bashar al-Assad, its allies, and various opposing forces, has persisted approximately six years. According to BBC the U.S. has recently begun plans to create an allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Kurdish-led militia border security force. The U.S. intends to use the back bone of this coalition border force, known as the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), in its fight against the Islamic State (IS). However, Turkey views this strategy as counter productive and detrimental to not only their national security but to U.S./ Turkey relations. President Erdogan of Turkey considers the Kurds fighting for the SDF to be a terrorist organization and has since condemned the SDF, YPG, and U.S. commingling. The YPG is understood to be an active extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), known for fighting for Kurdish sovereignty in Turkey for thirty years. “Turkey’s president vowed to “suffocate” efforts to begin training members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and create what he called a “terror army”. The coalitions goal is to create a force of approximately 30,000 fighters over several years of which the Kurdish forces and Arab SDF will each make up half. The Border Security Force (BSF) will be given the mission of patrolling large sections of Syria’s northern border with Turkey and the eastern border with Iraq. The U.S. led coalition hopes that creating a strong border force will help restrict Islamic State movement and deter the transportation of illegal substances.

Timothy M. Champagne, World Affairs Council Intern

Photo Credit: British Broadcasting Corporation