Turkey has made clear its protest over the United States assisting the Syrian Democratic Forces, a key regional ally, in setting up a Syrian border force in the name of security.
Washington and its allies have been working closely with Kurdish-led SDF in recent years in a successful campaign to take back control of territory from so-called Islamic State.
However, Ankara considers the Syrian Kurds fighting with SDF to be part of the PKK Kurdish terror organization based in southeast Turkey.
The border force was first reported by The Defense Post on Saturday, saying that the U.S.-led coalition in Syria was set to train some 30,000 for the Syrian Border Security Force “over the next several years”.
About half of the BSF will be Kurdish and Arab SDF soldiers, and the others new recruits.
Canada is not officially involved in the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, after it left its air combat role in February 2016 in with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise regarding Ottawa’s engagement.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ally Russia condemned the new program with Assad calling it a “blatant attack” on its sovereignty and Moscow warning it could lead to partition.
Ankara in the past has shown distaste at the creation of a Kurdish-majority state on its southern border, fearing it would allow for the PKK militants to launch attacks from the region.
However, Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces have repeatedly stated that they have no association or alliance with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
More details to follow. Image of Kurdish fighters from Almasdar News.