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Politics

Turkey: Russia, US Failed to Restrain Syrian Kurdish Militia

October 13, 2021

ANKARA — Turkey's foreign minister Wednesday accused Russia and the United States of failing to keep to their promise to restrain Syrian Kurdish militia from attacking Turkey. He said Ankara is forced to act to eliminate the threat as a result.

Mevlut Cavusoglu's comments come days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was losing patience after a series of attacks from Syria targeting his country. He suggested Turkey could carry out a new military foray into Syria.

Turkey has previously carried out numerous military offensives in Syria to drive Kurdish militia away from its border.

Turkey has blamed a series of recent attacks on Turkish targets in Syria on the militia of the U.S.-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG. Turkey views the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of outlawed Kurdish militants fighting government forces in Turkey. The group was also the U.S.'s main ally in the fight against the Islamic State group.

"Russia and the United States bear responsibility for the recent attacks against civilians in this region and against us because they didn't keep to their word," Cavusoglu said during a joint news conference with his visiting Nicaraguan counterpart. 

He was referring to separate agreements that Turkey reached with the United States and Russia in 2019 for the YPG militia's withdrawal from areas in Syria close to the border with Turkey.

"We will do whatever it takes to clear these terrorists from these areas," Cavusoglu said.

On Sunday, two Turkish police officers were killed in a guided missile attack in Aleppo that has been blamed on the YPG. The U.S. condemned the assault. A Turkish soldier was also killed in a similar attack on Oct. 7.

Earlier this week, mortar shells allegedly fired by the YPG from Syria's Jarablus region landed in the Turkish border town of Karkamis, damaging a house. The Syrian Kurdish forces denied involvement.

Cavusoglu described Washington's condemnation of the attack on the police as insincere.

"The United States made a statement saying they condemn attacks on our allies coming from Syria. But who gives them these arms? Who trains these terrorists?" Cavusoglu said. "The insincerity here is clear. They don't keep to their word."

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