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Turkey deploys 'anti-Kurdish' reinforcements to Syria amid escalation Open in fullscreen

Robert Cusack

Turkey deploys 'anti-Kurdish' reinforcements to Syria amid escalation

A Turkish tank being carried towards the Turkish border at Tel Abyad [Twitter]

Date of publication: 29 April, 2017

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Turkish state media showed footage of a convoy of heavy weaponry being sent from Sanliurfa to Tel Abyad, reportedly to reinforce artillery positions against the YPG.

The Turkish army made a large deployment of reinforcement weaponry to Syrian border posts on Saturday morning after a recent spate of heavy fighting with a US-backed Kurdish faction in Syria.

Turkish state TV showed footage of a large convoy of weaponry heading towards the border town Tel Abyad from Sanliurfa, days after Kurdish artillery shelled a number of Turkish border posts.

The United States, a NATO ally with Turkey, sought to deflate tensions and fears of a Turkish invasion by deploying ground troops on Friday to patrol the border region.

"We have forces in the entirety of northern Syria, the border is among the area where they operate,” Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told The Military Times.

The Pentagon has previously reported that hundreds of US troops are positioned on the ground in Syria to help with the Raqqa offensive against Islamic State.

Ankara views the main Kurdish force in northern Syria, the People's Protection Units (YPG) as an offshoot of the banned "terrorist group", the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been engaged in a three-decade war with Turkey.

The YPG and Turkey have been exchanging artillery fire since Tuesday and Washington has expressed concerns that this aggression may escalate while its troops are on the ground.

Turkey drew criticism from the US on Wednesday, after they only gave their allies an hours notice before launching a bombing campaign against Kurdish positions.

"That's not enough time and this was... not coordination as you would expect from a partner and an ally in the fight against ISIS," US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian told a Pentagon teleconference.

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