15:41 GMT +319 June 2019
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    Fighters from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG)

    Syrian Kurds Plan to Liberate Northern Part of Syria From 'Turkish Invasion'

    © AFP 2019 / DELIL SOULEIMAN
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    YPG Commander Sipan Hemo said that Syrian Kurdish militia does not recognize the Turkish "invasion" to the north of Syria and will "liberate" that part of the country.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Syrian Kurdish militia People's Protection Units (YPG) does not recognize the Turkish "invasion" to the north of Syria and will "liberate" that part of the country, YPG Commander Sipan Hemo said Friday.

    "We don’t accept the Turkish state’s presence or invasion in this region in any form. I want to stress that we don’t recognize their alliances either. Our goal and struggle to liberate the Azaz-Jarablus area will continue," Hemo said, as quoted by the Firat new agency.

    Hemo did not disclose any details of the forthcoming operation or possible timing for the start of the offensive.

    Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. In Iraq and Syria, the Kurds are fighting against the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIL, or Daesh in Arabic). An estimated 50,000-strong YPG is the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Turkey insists the YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been in an armed conflict with Turkey for more than 3 decades and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

    On May 20, Turkey’s General Staff has developed a new plan of anti-terrorist operations in the region against possible attacks of the Kurdish armed groups in Syria and Iraq. On June 21, YPG said Turkey had been concentrating its troops around the Syrian city of Afrin and was preparing to attack.

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