The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) sees a “big possibility of open, fierce confrontation” with Turkish forces in an area of northwestern Syria where the sides exchanged fire on Wednesday, a senior SDF official said on Thursday.
Naser Haj Mansour, an advisor to the SDF, told Reuters the SDF had taken a decision to confront Turkish forces “if they try to go beyond the known lines” in the area where Turkey-backed jihadist-dominated Syrian rebel groups say Ankara has recently deployed extra forces.
Mansour also said a Turkish attack on SDF-held areas would “do great harm” to the SDF campaign to drive Islamic State from its base of operations at Raqqa by drawing SDF fighters away from frontlines at the city.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, Armenian, Turkmen and Circassian militias in the Syrian Civil War. The SDF is mostly composed of, and militarily led by, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which Turkey considers to be an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and therefore opposes.