A coalition of Turkish-backed militant groups, often refered as the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (TFSA), says that its ready to participate in Ankara’s military operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units in the area east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
“We won’t allow a terrorist formation in Syria. Two military offensives against Daesh [ISIS] 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 Turkey’s media outlet Daily Sabah in an interview on November 10.
The YPG is the core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which control a large chunk of the area, including the border with Turkey, in northeastern Syria. Ankara considers the YPG and thus the SDF to be a terrorist group, a local branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The US support to the SDF is the reason of constant tensions between Ankara and Washington.
In early 2018, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the TFSA already carried out an operation against the YPG inside Syria. They seized the region of Afrin, including Afrin city, from the YPG in northwestern Syria.
In October 2018, Turkish leadership once again announced its plans to eliminate the YPG in northeastern Syria, in the area east and west of the Euphrates River. The claims were supported by a series of TAF strikes on YPG positions near the YPG-held town of Ayn al-Arab (renamed by the YPG into Kobani).