US forces patrol border between north Syria and Turkey – Kurdish-led SDF

Syria’s Kurdish-led alliance said on Friday that US troops have started patrolling the Syrian border with Turkey to defuse tensions after threats from Ankara. A spokesman for the US-led coalition told Reuters it carries out regular military visits in the region and had not increased patrols. Turkish forces have this week shelled positions in northern Syria under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the US trains and arms. The SDF alliance, which the Kurdish YPG militia spearheads, returned fire and pledged to respond to any more attacks. Ankara has warned it would launch a cross-border offensive east of the Euphrates River in Syria if the US military does not ensure the YPG’s withdrawal. Ankara sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdish PKK movement that has waged an insurgency inside Turkey for decades. On Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to crush Syrian Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates, where some 2,000 US forces stand alongside the SDF.