The deputy commander of the anti-Daesh coalition on Tuesday has called on all sides to ensure that civilians are protected after the PKK's Syria affiliate made death threats against the families of Free Syrian Army (FSA) members in Afrin.
In a post last week on its official Twitter account, the People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist group issued a threat to FSA members in the Syrian city of Afrin, saying their families are the main targets.
Later, some social media accounts linked with the terror group allegedly shared a list containing dozens of names connected with the FSA members.
"We would urge all parties to de-escalate any of these tensions and focus on what is critical to us now, which is the defeat of ISIS [Daesh] and bringing peace and stability to northeast Syria," said British Army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, the deputy commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria.
He was responding to a question from an Anadolu Agency (AA) correspondent at a press conference at the Pentagon. Recalling the coalition's previous remarks that it trains "local and partner forces in the rules of war," he was asked whether those rules permit the targeting of civilians.
"No. Of course the rules of war do not allow the targeting of noncombatants," Gedney said.
In addition to death threats to FSA family members, members of the People's Protection Units (YPG) also seized farmland and fields, shops and household items from FSA members and their families in Manbij.
Additionally, the group also evicted elderly people from their homes and forcefully recruited other residents to fight for their interests, according to local sources based in the area. Turkey, in coordination with FSA members, launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin amid growing threats emanating from YPG terrorists in the region. On March 18, the Turkish military announced that Afrin province was completely cleared of the YPG.
The U.S. has supported the YPG, who casually disguise themselves as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is considered by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization that has waged a 30-year war against the Turkish state. American support for the terrorist group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh. The U.S. continues to provide the group with arms and equipment even in the face of strong objections by Turkey.
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