Syria: YPG-FSA victory on border alarms Turkey

Civilians return to Tal Abyad after ISIS defeat

17 June, 19:35

    A Syrian uses a bicycle to wheel some of his belongings as he walks with others back to the border town of Tal Abyad in Syria from Turkey A Syrian uses a bicycle to wheel some of his belongings as he walks with others back to the border town of Tal Abyad in Syria from Turkey

     - ROME - Hundreds of civilians began to return on Wednesday to Tal Abyad, a Syrian city on the border with Turkey.

    The return was made possible after a coalition between Kurdish YPG forces and rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) ones on Tuesday retook the city from the Islamic State on Tuesday following a three-week offensive. Over 20,000 residents had been forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in Turkey due to the fighting on the ground and airstrikes by the US-led international coalition against ISIS positions. The victory of a coalition including the YPG, months after a similar one against ISIS in Ayn Al-Arab/Kobane, another city along the border some 60 kilometers further west, has alarmed the Turkish authorities. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken in recent days of the ''creation of a structure that threatens the borders'' of Turkey.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has joined about fifteen armed groups of the Syrian opposition that have accused the Kurds of ''ethnic cleansing'' against Arabs and Turkmen in the area. Ankara has stated that the YPG militias are a part of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting against the Turkish authorities since 1984. UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura is currently in Damascus in an attempt to relaunch diplomatic efforts for a political end to the conflict. On Tuesday he met with Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, on a day in which several rockets were launched at the capital by rebels a few kilometers west of it. The state-owned news agency reported that 10 civilians had been killed and 25 injured.

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