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Alaturka Gazetesi

US withdraws forces from observation post in Syria

By Sarp Ozer

ANKARA (AA) – The U.S. on Sunday withdrew its forces from military observation post south of Ayn Al-Arab in northern Syria, according to security sources.

The U.S. started to withdraw from Ayn Al-Arab, also known as Kobani, at 15:00 p.m. local time [1200GMT].

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that the U.S. is preparing to evacuate about 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria.

The decision came a week after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would pull back its forces from the Syrian border after a telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.

On Saturday, Turkey's defense minister said that targeting the U.S. observation point in Syria was out of question during the ongoing counter-terror operation.

Ankara wants to eliminate terrorist elements of the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG, from the region.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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Alaturka

Syrian Kurds in Turkey call for int'l help to Ankara

By Rauf Maltas

SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) – Syrian Kurds living in Turkey due to the civil war in their country called for international support to Turkey's efforts and hospitality.

Syrian Kurds — one of the most suffering communities from the conflict — have had friendly ties with their relatives and neighbors in Turkey for centuries.

Opens its arms to people in need without discriminating language, religion and ethnicity, Turkey has been hosting thousands of Syrian Kurds who had to leave their homeland because of the civil war and oppression of the PYD/PKK terrorists.

The nation allocated the largest one of the tent cities for Syrians in southeastern Sanliurfa province’s Suruc district, where the majority of the oppressed Syrian Kurds stay as their land remains occupied by the PKK/PYD.

Syrian Kurds are living in peace and tranquility in the tent city, where their humanitarian needs are met from education to health.

However, the longing for their homelands grow each day and while they wait for the international community to give support to Turkey, the nation showing efforts for their safe return.

– 'We would die in homeland if not for Turkey'

Mohamad Nouri from northern Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) told Anadolu Agency that he took refuge in Turkey four years ago with his seven children.

He said they were tired of the oppression as their village was occupied by the PYD/PKK terrorists, and they found the solution by escaping to Turkey.

Stating that their needs were perfectly met, but they still wanted to return to their country, Nouri added: “We are so happy to have come to Turkey. My children are going to school here. If we hadn't come to Turkey, we would have died in our homeland.”

“We are waiting for other nations’ support for Turkey in liberating our country.

Coming to Turkey from the same region five years ago, Hussein Asbad said he was a teacher in his country and he was using his experience for the education of the citizens in the camps.

“Turkey is looking after us very well. However, no matter how well everything is, a human wants to live in his own lands,” he said.

“If we stayed, we would have suffered from the oppression of the PYD/PKK,” Hussein added.

Muslim Hattal, another Syrian Kurd who came to Turkey three years ago along with his five children, said they survived the war “thanks to Allah and the Turkish support.”

“[Turkey] gave us a place to live here, we are happy here. We want support from especially Turkey and other countries for returning us to our country,” Hattal stressed.

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Alaturka

Footage shows YPG/PKK terrorist trenches in N.Syria

By Selen Temizer, Omer Koparan and Sena Guler</p> <p>ANKARA (AA) – Ahead of a possible Turkish counter-terrorist operation into Syria, drone footage shows YPG/PKK terrorists digging trenches and tunnels in the northern Syrian city of Ayn al-Arab, near Turkey's border.</p> <p>Video obtained by Anadolu Agency shows the terrorists in the city — right across the border from Suruc, in the southeastern Turkish province of Sanliurfa — dug trenches and tunnels, presumably to hinder Turkish armored vehicles from crossing the border for an operation east of the Euphrates River.</p> <p>In order to connect their positions near the border, the terrorists are using cement to fortify tunnels and trenches spanning two meters tall by one meter wide (6.5 feet tall, 3.2 feet wide).</p> <p>The footage also shows buildings thought to be local police stations with photos of terrorists on their walls.</p> <p>Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch, launched this January in northwestern Afrin, Syria to clear the area of terrorists, similarly encountered many YPG/PKK terrorist trenches.</p> <p>In October, Anadolu Agency also captured footage showing YPG/PKK terrorists surrounding Manbij, northern Syria, with the same method.</p> <p>A mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria since 2016, both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.</p> <p>In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.</p> <p>Turkey’s leadership has said a cross-border operation against terrorists could come within days.</p> <p>

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Alaturka

4 PKK terrorists neutralized in east Euphrates in Syria

By Yasin Dikme

SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) – At least four PYD/PKK terrorists were killed on Wednesday in east of Euphrates River, northern Syria, according to security sources.

The Turkish howitzers fired artillery shells on terror positions in Ayn al-Arab region in a cross-border shooting from Sanliurfa, a border province in southeastern Turkey, said the sources who spoke anonymously due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Six terrorists were also injured, the sources added.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

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Alaturka

#BREAKING Turkey kills at least 4 PYD/PKK terrorists in Syria's Ayn al-Arab

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Alaturka Gazetesi

Turkey seeks harshest sentences for Kurd teen’s killers

By Zafer Fatih Beyaz and Ferdi Turkten

ANKARA (AA) – A public prosecutor requested a court in Ankara Friday to hand down six counts of aggravated life imprisonment sentences for each of the 23 suspects accused of being involved in the murder of Kurdish teenager Yasin Boru and his friends in southeastern Turkey in 2014.

On Oct. 5, 2014, 16-year-old Boru and his friends — Ahmet Dakak, Riyat Gunes and Hasan Gokguz — were chased down and brutally killed by alleged pro-PKK supporters on the second day of Eid al-Adha as they distributed food aid to Syrian refugees. The murderers had accused Boru and his friends of allegedly being Daesh members before killing them, according to the indictment.

Public Prosecutor Abdurrahim Yalcin urged a penal court in Ankara to impose six counts of aggravated life sentences on each of the 23 out of 41 suspects who faced trial.

Yalcin requested the court to charge the suspects with “killing by torture and with atrocious feelings” as well as “disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state”.

The suspects include Ugur Doganay, Abdurrahim Pamuk, Sedat Coban, Mecnun Akkoyun, Mehmet Sah Yuce, Umit Doganay, Remzi Ozsan, Ahmet Taylan, Hasan Uyanik, Ali Karakurt, Erkan Balaban, Resul Savur, Ali Guler, Ahmet Tura, Mehmet Caglar, Cevher Turk, Cihan Yildiz, Ridvan Bas and three juveniles — Y. O, F.G, A.S, M.D. and A.K. — who were said to have been dragged into the crime.

Yalcin also requested the court to acquit 15 other suspects, including Hasan and Huseyin Okcu, Yildiz Doganay, Ahmet Bicici, Mahsun Kurt, Hasan Aldemir, Burhan Dicle, Adem Kacmaz, Ahmet Arif Yusufoglu, Ahmet Tanriverdi, Abdulvahap and Abdurrahman Turan, Ersin Adiyaman and juveniles M.I. and F.K.

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Alaturka Gazetesi

ANALYSIS – US still backing terrorist YPG in northern Syria

ANKARA (AA) – While Turkey-led military operations continue in northern Syria in order to eliminate the PKK/PYD threat along its border, the U.S. support to the terrorist group’s armed wing in Syria, YPG has remained to show itself in several ways since more than two years.

PYD is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK — considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and EU — whereas YPG is the armed wing of PYD, and considered by the U.S. a “reliable partner” in the region in the fight against Daesh.

The Obama administration initially admitted supporting the PYD/YPG at the end of 2014 when Daesh surrounded Ayn Al-Arab, a Syrian city close to the Turkish border.

By claiming that it supported the anti-Daesh fight in Syria including the protection of Ayn Al-Arab from the terrorist group, the U.S. dropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to the YPG from the air, senior U.S. administration officials said, according to a Wall Street Journal article dated Oct. 20, 2014.

The American authorities also confirmed that one of the medical aid packages that they dropped fell mistakenly into the hands of Daesh.

Meanwhile, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, met with PYD’s leader Salih Muslim on Dec. 9, 2014 in Erbil, northern Iraq, reportedly to discuss further military coordination over Ayn Al-Arab, according to a story by Erbil-based Rudaw Media Network.

Shortly after the Turkish government approved in July 2015 the use of its southern Incirlik Air Base for the U.S.-led international coalition against Daesh, the tensions between the two NATO allies intensified, especially with regard to U.S. assistance to the YPG in northern Syria — which Turkey opposes strongly.

– US soldiers wearing YPG patches

Despite opposite claims, photos on social media showing U.S. soldiers with YPG insignia were yet another milestone that further strained the relations between Ankara and Washington.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reacted harshly to the photos that emerged during an operation launched last May by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to liberate Daesh’s self-declared capital of Raqqa, calling the incident “not acceptable”.

Asked about the photos and whether the U.S. provided arms to the group, the U.S. authorities insistently declined that the U.S. forces were doing much more than training and advising the YPG.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told reporters in a press briefing on May 27, 2016 that the U.S. troops were most likely just being “supportive of that local force [YPG] in their advice and assist role”.

On the other hand, Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve in Baghdad told reporters the same day that wearing those patches was “unauthorized and inappropriate,” and that “corrective action” had been taken.

However, he added that the American Special Forces had a “long and proud history” of wearing such patches of their allies around the world in order to “connect with those they are training”.

– PYD/YPG existence in Syria’s Manbij

The U.S. has long promised that the YPG will leave Manbij once it is liberated from Daesh. However, although the Syrian city near the Turkish border was retaken from Daesh last summer, the YPG is still operating in the city.

The issue has been raised several times at meetings between Cavusoglu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as well as the Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar and his American counterpart Joseph Dunford.

The Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began last August, aims to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.

The operation also aims to push the PKK/PYD to the east of the Euphrates River and secure the area — especially Manbij which is located on the west bank of the river. Manbij is currently controlled by the PYD/PKK.

Outlawed PKK/PYD and its military wing YPG are trying to combine their self-declared cantons in Ayn Al-Arab and Al-Hasakah in northeast along the Turkish border with the one in Afrin, northwest corner of Syria, an idea that Turkey has long opposed.

If PKK/PYD fails to capture the town of Al-Bab — another critical city which is trying to be liberated — it will not be able to connect Manbij with Afrin. The Turkish army is currently supporting Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters in liberating Al-Bab.

– US flags on PKK/YPG buildings

Last September, the American flag was hoisted over several buildings belonging to the PKK/YPG in Raqqa’s Tal Abyad district (which were recognizable from the Turkish border), according to local sources.

“The U.S. and the Western world protected, funded and trained these [Daesh, PKK] terrorist organizations,” in northern Syria and parts of Iraq, security expert Abdullah Agar told Anadolu Agency.

These groups are used as “masks” to serve the U.S. and Western interests in the Middle East, according to Agar.

He added that the U.S. never said it armed the YPG although the group’s current “sophisticated” weapons such as tanks or stingers were made in the U.S.

“Instead, they say they armed the ‘Democratic Syrian Forces’ — 80 percent of which consists of PKK-guided terrorists. This [wording] is shrewd [of them],” Agar said.