News ID: 209550
Published: 0201 GMT February 06, 2018

Erdogan: US has ‘calculations’ against Turkey, Iran, Russia in Syria

Erdogan: US has ‘calculations’ against Turkey, Iran, Russia in Syria

The United States is working against the interests of Turkey, Iran and maybe Russia in northern Syria, where it is sending in military supplies to an area controlled by Kurdish-dominated forces, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

“If the United States says they are sending 5,000 trucks and 2,000 cargo planes of weapons for the fight against Daesh, we don’t believe this,” Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party in Parliament.

“It means you have calculations against Turkey and Iran, and maybe Russia,” he said, repeating a call for US troops to withdraw from the Syrian town of Manbij.

The US has around 2,000 military personnel in northern Syria supporting the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is an alliance of militias in northern and eastern Syria and largely dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey is wary of the presence of Kurdish militants close to its borders in Syria, and has been opposed to Washington's efforts to train and arm them. The US has said it has no plans to pull out troops stationed near the town of Manbij.

Ankara has been waging “Operation Olive Branch” against the Kurds in Syria’s Afrin region since January 20 in a bid to eliminate the Kurdish militants. Turks have said the offensive could extend to Manbij and beyond.

Accusing Washington of breaking past promises, Erdogan said the Americans “told us they will pull out of Manbij. They said they will not stay in Manbij... Why don’t you just go?”

“And then you tell us not to come to Manbij! We will come to Manbij to return it to its original owners,” he added.

In a show of anger at Turkey’s NATO ally, Erdogan asked the United States what it was doing in Syria in the first place.

“You do not have a border, you are not a neighbor (of Syria),” he said. “What’s your business there? We have a 911-kilometer (566 miles) border.”

Erdogan also accused US President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama of failing to tell the truth over US support for the YPG.

“They told us many things but unfortunately they did not tell the truth,” Erdogan said. “Mr. Obama did not tell the truth and now Mr. Trump is heading down the same path.”

Erdogan had earlier said the YPG is trying to establish a “terror corridor” on Turkey's southern border, linking Syria’s northern city of Afrin with a large Kurdish-controlled area to the east.

Senior authorities in Ankara have warned Washington that there could be a confrontation between Turkish and American troops in northern Syria if arms transfer to the Kurds was not stopped.

Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story. 

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