Turkey vows to expand Syria offensive east to Iraqi border

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Source: News Herald

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Friday to expand Ankara’s operation in a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria eastward, toward the frontier with Iraq.

His comments, during an address to local leaders of his ruling-party in Ankara, appeared to be in defiance of the United States, which has urged Turkey to keep its campaign in Syria “limited in scope and duration” and to focus on ending the war.

Erdogan said the Turkish forces’ push into Afrin would stretch further east, to the Syrian Kurdish town of Manbij, and toward the border with Iraq “until no terrorist is left.”

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish forces, known as the People’s Protection Units or YPG, as a terrorist group because of their purported links to Kurdish insurgents within Turkey’s own border. Manbij is held by the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is dominated by the YPG. U.S. troops are not present in Afrin but are embedded with the SDF in other parts of Syria, where they are working to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State grou

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