Turkey has ostensibly spent three months training a large rebel force planning to deploy them against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) told.
“Turkey is in the process of creating an army manned by the FSA fighters to carry out an operation against the YPG. This force will also be tasked with patrolling the security zone between Jarabulus and Idlib. This training has been ongoing for three months. Turkish special forces have led a training program lasting 45 days in Gaziantep and Kilis. Syrians from Idlib, Aleppo, Damascus and Hama have enrolled in this program. They have freely joined the FSA. These are mostly ethnic Turkmen or Arabs. There are some Kurds as well,” the source said.
The Ankara-trained FSA force is said to consist of 10,000 fighters.
The FSA commander added that those undergoing training receive $300 per month. Turkey also provides them with shelter and food. He did not specify when the program would be over, but said that it is going to happen soon.
The FSA commander named the cities of Manbij, Afrin and Tell Abyad as the primary targets of Turkey’s upcoming operation.
According to the received information, Turkey has been engaged in training the FSA to launch an operation in Afrin. Ankara decided to do this after the United States announced that they would arm the YPG. Turkey has chosen Afrin because unlike Kobani and Qamishli there are no US troops in the city. In addition, Turkey wants to capture Azaz, Marea, Idlib and territories to the West of the Jarabulus-Aleppo axis.
It should be noted that Ankara has created several strongholds in Syria to carry out an offensive on a territory between the Turkish town of Silopi and the Iraqi town of Sinjar. Turkey doesn`t want the Kurds to be present in the border region.