U.S. drones monitoring Turkish military activity along Syrian border - Artı Gerçek
The United States have been following the Turkish military’s recent deployments on the Syrian border and sharing intelligence with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People Protection Units (YPG), news site Artı Gerçek said on Saturday, citing local sources in northeast Syria.
Turkey over the last week has increased its military presence on the Syrian border, signalling the start of a possible assault on the Kurdish YPG, which it sees as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group fighting for self-rule in southeast Turkey for more than three decades.
The YPG, which leads the predominantly Kurdish political leadership in Syria, the SDF, forms the backbone of the U.S.-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Ankara and Washington have been negotiating the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria along the Turkish border since last year, but no concrete steps have been taken so far. James Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy on Syria, is expected to arrive in Ankara on July 22 for a working committee meeting with Turkish counterparts.
Suspicions over Turkey’s preparations for a military attack against the YPG heightened after the Turkish authorities removed concrete blocks on the border in the southeastern town of Akçakale, according to Artı Gerçek. The news site said some construction equipment have already passed through the border for fortification works.
“All powers in the region and particularly the United States have been following the steps of Turkey, which has amassed its largest deployment so far,” Artı Gerçek said.
According to the same sources, the United States has also been sharing intelligence with the YPG and the SDF.
A senior official in Kurdish held enclave Rojava in Syria told Artı Gerçek that Turkey’s threats for military incursion would be discussed during Jeffrey’s upcoming visit.