FSA ready to fight against YPG in eastern Euphrates

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

A commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that carried out two joint offensives with Turkey in Syria has said that the military faction is ready to fight against the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) east of the Euphrates.

"We won't allow a terrorist formation in Syria. Two military offensives against Daesh and YPG were successfully carried out. Now, we are ready for the battle in the eastern Euphrates," Saif Abu Bakr, Hamza Division Military Chief, told Sabah daily in an interview published yesterday.

In the wake of the YPG and Daesh threats near its border, Turkey carried out two cross-border military campaigns in the past two years. The Turkish military and the FSA have liberated the bordering Jarablus, al-Rai and al-Bab districts from the Daesh terrorist group through Operation Euphrates Shield launched in Aug. 2016. On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to push the YPG and Daesh terrorists from northwestern Syria's Afrin region, liberating the region on March 18 with the help of FSA forces.

Hamza Division, which includes 6,000 fighters in its unit, also has recently carried out its biggest military training in northern Syria. The group underwent challenging training with the help of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to be ready for all ground conditions.

Following Turkish troops shelling YPG terrorist positions in the Ayn al-Arab area east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, the FSA fortified their military build-up in northern Syria's Tal Rifaat, southeast of Afrin and Manbij in northern Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other Turkish officials have been signaling a likely expansion of Turkey's military campaign into the much larger YPG territory east of the Euphrates if the threat continues.

The YPG, which Turkey considers a grave threat to its national security, is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU and NATO.

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