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Nov 25 2018

U.S. training 30,000 SDF members in Syria - Asharq Al-Awsat

The United States military on Saturday began the construction of five observation posts along Syria’s border with Turkey while agreeing to train 30,000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to combat “ISIS cells” and contain Iran,  Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

The U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis said on Wednesday that the U.S. military would be building observation outposts in northern Syria along the Turkish border to help keep the focus on defeating Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria. 

The United States backs the SDF in its fight against the ISIS in Syria, while Turkey sees SDF’s armed forces, People’s Protection Units (YPG), as an extension of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has been fighting inside Turkey since 1984.

U.S. Forces established three posts in Tal Abyad and two others in Ain al-Arab (Kobani) at the Syrian border with Turkey to protect its Syrian ally forces against ISIS, Asharq Al-Awsat quoted a leader from the YPG as saying on Saturday.

A memorandum of understanding signed between the SDF and the US-led coalition stipulates a one-year plan to combat ISIS and its dormant cells and to train 30,000 fighters, in addition to the existing 60,000 combatants, already fighting the terrorist group, it said.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday said Ankara was uneasy about U.S. plans to set up “observation posts” in Syria along parts of its border with Turkey, stressing they would have a very negative impact on perceptions of the United States in Turkey.