Turkey’s Erdoğan says can crush U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces in a week

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his army could crush U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces in northern Syria in less than a week and blamed the United States for supporting what he called terrorists in Syria.

U.S. backing for Syrian Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State in northern Syria has been a major bone of contention between the United States and Turkey. Ankara says the Kurdish fighters are terrorists and accuses its NATO ally of putting Turkey’s border security at risk.

Turkish forces entered Syria and took up positions facing the Kurdish-controlled Syrian enclave of Afrin in October last year.

Turkish forces would “destroy terrorists in Afrin if they won’t surrender”, Dünya newspaper quoted Erdoğan as saying.

"The U.S. has sent 4,900 trucks of weapons to this terrorist organisation in Syria. They also delivered them weapons by 2,000 airplanes landings in makeshift airports there. This is not how allies behave. Some of the weapons the U.S. gave them were sold on the black market, some are being used against us," Erdoğan said.

The president said that if the United States does not keep its promise to pull Kurdish forces in the northern Syrian province on Manbij back to the east of the River Euphrates, Turkey would act on its own.

“We can smash those looters who think they formed an army,” Erdoğan said. “It won’t take a week.”