Gaziantep, Turkey (CNN)Turkey intensified its shelling of Kurdish fighters in neighboring Syria on Friday as it ramped up threats to launch a full military offensive across the border, a move that would stoke tensions with the United States.
Senior Turkish officials have been warning for days of an imminent strike into the Kurdish-held region of Afrin in northern Syria, after the US announced it was training a 30,000-strong border force in Syria made up predominantly of Kurdish fighters.
The Turkish Defense Minister said on Friday that the operation was “de facto” underway.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US — its most powerful NATO ally — of creating an “army of terror” along its southern border.
Ankara, which has long fought Kurdish unrest in southeastern Turkey, is determined to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state across the border in Syria. It has used military force in the past against Kurds in northern Syria, who have seized control of swathes of territory in the fight against ISIS. read more…