MESOP ERDOGAN’S “RED LINE” ? – Turkish Party Says YPG (PYD/PKK) Kurdish Militia Crossed West of Euphrates

2016-02-07 – nrttv com – ISTANBUL — Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) spokesman Omer Celik has said that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), has crossed west of the Euphrates River, a move that Turkey considers a national security threat.

In a news conference on Thursday (Feb. 4), Celik told the press that, as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a number of YPG forces have crossed west of the Euphrates and are advancing further. The Syrian Democratic Forces were created in October of last year and consist of mostly Kurdish PYD and YPG, as well as Arabs, Assyrians and others to fight against the Islamic State (IS).

Turkey considers the PYD, along with its armed wing the YPG, a terrorist organization due to its ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PYD is not considered a terrorist organization by the United States, although the PKK is.The PYD has emerged as one of the leading ground forces in the battle against IS. Ankara has warned the PYD against any move into territory west of the Euphrates, amid concerns that Syrian Kurds, who currently control an uninterrupted 400-kilometer-long part of the Syrian border with Turkey, will expand their control after uniting with the Afrin canton and other cantons in the east.

That would amount to more than 500 kilometers of border with Syria being under PYD control, a point that has been viewed by Ankara as a threat to national security. Turkey is concerned that the PYD may fuel separatist ambitions in Turkey. But the US supports the PYD in the context of its fight against IS and it has air-dropped weapons and ammunition to the PYD in Syria.Last year in October, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said during a TV program on A Haber that Ankara has repeatedly warned the PYD not to cross west of the Euphrates in Syria, as Turkey would hit it the moment it does. He said Turkey struck the PYD twice, but did not elaborate on when or where.