ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The leaders of some 50 Syrian Arab tribes in Turkey on Tuesday declared they would form a new army to fight the Islamic State (IS) and the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northeastern Syria.
Convening in the Kurdish-majority city of Sanliurfa in southern Turkey, the Arab tribal leaders “discussed means of establishing a unified front against terror,” reported the Turkish state-funded Anadolu news agency.
The tribes’ meeting is the latest in numerous Turkish attempts since the beginning of the fight against IS in Syria to create a military force alternative to the Kurdish-led forces.
Turkey regards the YPG as a “terrorist group” for having ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Meanwhile, the US rejects Ankara’s view and supports the YPG as “the most efficient” force battling IS.
The attendees from Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, and Hasakah Provinces of Syria vowed to work together “to end the occupation by Assad, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, [IS], and the PYD.”
The new force would be under the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) that seeks to overthrow the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
“We call on the international community to support our efforts to eliminate [IS], the PYD, and the Assad regime from [the Hasakah] and Euphrates regions,” said Sheikh Rafi al-Rajo Ukla, a Syrian tribal leader.
The move by Turkey-based Arabs followed the late 2016 Syrian regime victory against the FSA in Aleppo.
The triumph was partly delivered by intense Russian bombing and support by Shia Iranian and the Lebanese Hezbollah militias.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the ruling political party in Syrian Kurdistan, has managed to maintain US support behind its armed wing, the YPG, for an ongoing operation to capture the city of Raqqa.