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August 23, 2019
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Ankara has no plan to enter Syria: Turkey

ANKARA: Turkey has denied that its soldiers had entered Syria last week.

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said Ankara was not planning to send troops into Syria.

The Syrian government had alleged that Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen who entered Syria on Saturday with 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an operation to supply insurgents fighting Damascus.

“It is not true … There is no thought of Turkish soldiers entering Syria,” Yilmaz told a Turkish parliamentary commission when asked about the allegation by the Syrian foreign ministry, made in a letter to the U.N. Security Council.

Turkey’s army shelled Kurdish YPG militia targets in northern Syria over the weekend, after the group seized an air base north of Aleppo, further complicating the conflict on NATO-member Turkey’s southern border.

Ankara regards the YPG as a terrorist organization and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a 31-year-old insurgency for autonomy in southeast Turkey. Washington, which does not see the YPG as terrorists, backs the group in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutolgu has demanded that the YPG withdraw from areas it has captured from Syrian rebels.