Erdogan to Kurdish Militia: You Can't Rely on U.S. Support to Defeat Turkey

Iran calls for end of Turkish offensive in Syria, says it may help 'terrorists'

Turkish army soldiers wait near the border before entering Syria, on January 21, 2018 at Hassa, in the Turkish province of Hatay, near the Syrian border
AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday his forces would crush the U.S.-backed Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia, saying it could not rely on Washington’s support to defeat Turkey.

Speaking to a congress of his ruling AK Party in the northwestern city of Bursa, Erdogan also accused some of Turkey’s allies of providing 2,000 plane shipments and 5,000 truckloads of weapons to the YPG, a comment that appeared aimed at the United States.

Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast. The United States has backed the YPG in its fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Iran on Sunday called for a quick end to a Turkish incursion into northern Syria's Afrin province, saying it may help "terrorist" groups, state news agency IRNA reported.

"Iran hopes that this operation will be ended immediately to prevent a deepening of the crisis in the border regions of Turkey and Syria," it quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying. "A continued crisis in Afrin may boost ...terrorist groups in northern Syria."

Turkish warplanes hit 45 targets in northern Syria's Afrin region on Sunday, the military said, as ground forces pushed into the area in an operation targeting a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia.

In a statement, Turkey's armed forces said 32 warplanes had carried out the air strikes aimed at shelters, hideouts, and ammunition and weapons depots belonging to the Kurdish YPG militia.