February 19, 2018 / 11:27 AM / 10 months ago

Turkey says will confront Syrian forces if they enter Afrin to help YPG

FILE PHOTO - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

AMMAN (Reuters) - Turkey’s foreign minister warned on Monday that Turkey’s military would confront any Syrian government forces entering the northwest Afrin province to protect Kurdish YPG fighters.

“If the regime is entering there to cleanse the PKK and PYD, then there are no problems,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said, referring to the military loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“However, if it comes in to defend the YPG, then nothing and nobody can stop us or Turkish soldiers.” he told a news conference during a visit to the Jordanian capital Amman.

Militias allied to the Syrian government will enter the Afrin region within hours, state media reported on Monday, after a reported deal to help Kurdish forces repel Turkey’s forces. Turkey launched an operation last month against the Syrian Kurdish YPG in Afrin. Turkey considers the YPG terrorists.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Daren Butler

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