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US Trains 30,000 SDF Members East Syria to 'Contain' Iran

US Trains 30,000 SDF Members East Syria to 'Contain' Iran

Sunday, 25 November, 2018 - 08:45
Kurdish fighters guard a checkpoint near the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, close to the Turkish border, during clashes with jihadist militants in October 2013 (AFP Photo/Fabio Bucciarelli)

The US Army started on Saturday to build five observation posts at the border with Turkey, as part of Washington’s procedures to enhance its military and diplomatic presence northeast Syria.

The posts came as part of a one-year memorandum signed to train 30,000 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to combat “ISIS cells” and to contain Iran.

“The US Army started yesterday establishing three posts in Tal Abyad and two others in Ain al-Arab (Kobani) at the border with Turkey to protect the back of its Syrian ally forces against ISIS,” a leader from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday.

The five observation posts, which would be followed by others in Ras al-Ain, Amouda and Derbassiyah at the Turkish borders, come as part of military and diplomatic steps to implement a US strategy in Syria set to achieve three objectives: Fight ISIS and prevent it from reemerging, remove Iran from Syria, and push forward towards a Syrian political solution.

The YPG official uncovered the presence of a memorandum of understanding signed between the SDF and the US-led Coalition including a one-year plan to combat ISIS and its dormant cells and to train 30,000 fighters, in addition to the existing 60,000 combatants, already fighting the terrorist group.

The official added that the memorandum could be extended at the end of 2019.

For his part, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that his country was uneasy about US plans to set up “observation posts” in Syria along parts of its border with Turkey.

Akar said he told US Chief of Staff Joseph Dunford and other US officials during a recent visit to Canada that setting up the posts would have a very negative impact on perceptions of the United States in Turkey.

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