Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday condemned the U.S.-led Coalition decision to form a Syrian border security force under the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and vowed to squash the new force.
“Turkey will kill that army before it is born,” Anadolu Agency reported Erdogan as saying.
On Saturday, CJTF-OIR Public Affairs Officer Colonel Thomas F. Veale told The Defense Post that the Coalition and SDF were working jointly to train the 30,000-strong Syrian border security force. The BSF will be partly composed of veteran fighters and operate under the leadership of the SDF, the backbone of which is made of the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Erdogan blasted the United States for forming “a terrorist army” along the Turkish border.
Turkey views the predominantly Kurdish YPG and its linked PYD political party as extensions of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency mainly in Turkey’s majority-Kurdish southwest. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, among others, but the YPG is not so designated by the U.S. or E.U.