US-backed Kurdish forces launch anti-ISIS offensive in Syria

US Syria Kurds_AFP(middleeasteye)Taking support of the US, the Kurdish rebels have launched attacks on Aleppo, the Syrian city taken over by the ‘IS’. The US moreover, made it clear that the Kurds though declared terrorists by Turkey would continue to receive support from the US. Turkey had warned that for the US, it would have to be either Turkey or the Kurdish rebels, a choice that the US would have to make. Co-operating with both at the same time was just not acceptable. The US apparently has decided not to consider this proposal.

On Wednesday 1st June, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish rebel group along with Arab armed forces began operations against the IS. Col. Chris Garver, the spokesperson of the American military informed that apart from armed Arab organizations thousands of Kurdish rebels participated in the operation. The US forces posted in Syria did not however engage in direct combat. Their air strikes on the ‘IS’ along with those of the allies were intended merely to back the Kurdish rebels, he stated.

The spokesperson of the American military informs further that the Kurdish rebels have already advanced into the city of ‘Manbij’, situated north of Aleppo. Manbij lies on the main route linking Turkey with Raqqa, the de facto capital of the ‘IS’. It is this route that terrorists travel to infiltrate into Turkey. Capturing Manbij would severe the vital arms supply route and facilitate capturing Raqqa in the future.

However, this anti IS operation launched jointly with the Kurds, risks inviting a reaction from Turkey. It was only two days ago that the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavosoglu had offered to begin operations in Syria jointly with the US. Such a joint mission would be decisive and end in victory for Turkey and the US, he felt. Turkey’s offer stood on condition that the US keep the Kurds away from the operation. The Turkish President Erdogan had even made it amply clear that as far as the Syrian conflict went, the US would have to make a choice: it would have to be either Turkey or the Kurds. The Turkish President even questioned the stand that the US had taken on posting troops in Syria.

The US is evidently not willing to accept Turkey’s proposition and following the first operation against the IS carried out jointly with the Kurds, John Kirby, the spokesperson of the US Department of State affirmed that the US was not going to choose between Turkey and the Kurds. In this conflict, the Kurdish rebels would continue to receive support from the US, insisted Kirby. He added that the US had good relations with Turkey and a choice was not going to be possible.

Moreover, it is believed that air strikes in Aleppo have claimed the lives of more than 50 civilians. Nobody has come forward to claim responsibility for these attacks. Whereas the US holds the Syrian government responsible for them, Turkey points a finger at Russia claiming that it was their fighter jets that killed the civilians in the operation.          

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