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Turkey's Erdogan eggs on Syria's Arab tribes against US-backed Kurds

Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria "poses a threat to its national security."
Troops from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) special operations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come out in support of Arab tribes engaged in violent clashes with the United States’ top local ally against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria’s oil-rich eastern Deir Ezzor province, calling their actions a “principled struggle for dignity.”

“Deir Ezzor’s true proprietors are the Arab tribes,” Erdogan told reporters Monday as he flew back from Russia after meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

His comments have reinforced allegations that Turkey is helping to fuel the unrest in line with its ongoing campaign to destroy the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria (AANES). Ankara says the administration, which operates under US military protection outside the central government’s control, poses a threat to its national security. This is because of its close links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the rebel group waging an armed campaign against the Turkish army for Kurdish autonomy within Turkey.

The Turkish leader asserted that Putin was in agreement with him that “it was significant that as owners of the region, the Arab tribes had come together to struggle against the terrorist organization.” Erdogan continued, “It is seen that the arms and ammunition provided by the United States to this terrorist organization has not served peace in the region. Each and every weapon given to the terrorist organization has contributed to the spilling of blood and to the unraveling of Iraq and Syria’s territorial integrity.”

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