The international anti-jihadist coalition said Sunday it was working to create a border force of 30,000 men in northern Syria, sparking a condemnation of neighboring Turkey.
With the decline of the offensive against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, the coalition led by Washington and its Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allies are beginning to focus on border security, AFP told AFP coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon.
“The goal is to form a force of about 30,000” men, nearly half of whom will be SDF members, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters who have been at the forefront of the fight against IS. he adds. “There are about 230 people being trained,” he said.
With air support and logistical support from the coalition, the SDF has been successful in driving the jihadists out of many areas in northern Syria. Its members control territories bordering Turkey to the north, from Iraq to the east. To the west, they have positions close to those of the Syrian regime. Ankara was quick to react on Sunday, saying the new force would “legitimize a terrorist organization,” referring to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPGs) that dominate the SDFs.
“The measures taken” to legitimize a terrorist organization and make it durable in the region are worrying, “said the spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, quoted by Turkish media.
For now, there has been no reaction from the Syrian government. According to the coalition spokesperson, the new force is part of a broader strategy to “prevent the resurgence of IS.”