Turkey has proposed to join the United States in a special operation in Syria only if the Kurdish fighters battling Daesh are excluded from the offensive.
“If we join forces, they (the Americans) have their own special forces and we have our special forces,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.
“The subject we are discussing with the Americans is the closure of the Manbij pocket as soon as possible… and the opening of a second front,” he claimed, referring to a backdoor border route used by Daesh terrorists to transport militants into and out of Syria.
However, Cavusoglu stressed the exclusion of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of the People’s Protection Units, also known as the YPG, from the operation as a condition for such action.
“We say okay, a second front should be opened but not with the PYD,” he said.
The YPG, has been engaged in battles with Daesh for months, shutting their supply routes from Turkey into Syria near Raqqah, the self-proclaimed “capital” of the terrorist group.
Turkey itself stands accused of supporting the militants that are fighting against the government in Syria by, among other things, allowing them safe passage into the Arab country via Turkish territory.
Ankara and Washington both consider the PKK a terrorist organization. The United States, however, does not consider the YPG a terrorist group.
The Turkish foreign minister said special forces from Turkey, the US, France, Britain and Germany could also support the Syrian militants fighting to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
He also slammed Russia and the US for supporting what he called “a terrorist organization,” referring to the YPG.
Cavusoglu also announced that the recent deal between Ankara and Washington to deploy American light multiple rocket launchers along the Turkish-Syrian border to allegedly fight Daesh had been postponed until August instead of by the end of May.
“The United States is unfortunately not keeping its promise,” he said. “We are completely ready. Not us, but the US is responsible for the delay.”
Turkey slammed the United States on Friday for its “two-faced” behavior, saying it is “unacceptable” that US soldiers are backing Kurdish fighters in Syria.
A group of US soldiers are said to be operating alongside members of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-Daesh alliance of Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkmen, and mostly Kurdish fighters belonging to the YPG.
Images recently appeared showing US forces wearing Kurdish insignia on their clothes. Turkey slammed the move, and Washington said the soldiers did not have a permission to do so.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US and Turkey agreed to form a coalition to launch a large-scale military operation in northern Syria.
The Rai al-Youm newspaper, edited by prominent Palestinian journalist Abdul Bari Atwan, on May 16 reported that the campaign would be backed by American and Turkish airstrikes as well as Turkish artillery attacks.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.
UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has also displaced over half of the Arab country’s pre-war population of about 23 million.