Erdogan demands North Atlantic Treaty Organisation take stand on US-backed Syrian Border Force

The comments were the first indication by American officials that US-led forces may not intervene if Turkey follows through with a promised cross-border military operation to wipe out the group known as YPG, which controls the Afrin region along Turkey's southern border.

He was referring to the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

Another delegation member who requested anonymity told Reuters they told officials us inaction in Syria would only allow Iran and its regional allies to recreate a land corridor linking Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut - often termed the "Shi'ite crescent" by Iran's regional enemies.

USA troops completed a withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, eight years after they toppled Saddam Hussein s rule, only to return in much lower numbers in 2014 to fight the Islamic State.

The US works with the Syrian Democratic Forces, a militia dominated by Kurdish fighters which Washington sees as a basis for a 30,000-strong border force to hold eastern Syria.

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"Turkey has reached the end of its patience", said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

Turkey now hosts over 3 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. He noted that Turkey will take all necessary steps against provocative actions of the US.

"It will become a de facto Kurdish-run state should the US continue to protect and fund it", he said.

"Now the U.S. has acknowledged it has established an army of terror along our country's border, it's up to us to drown this army of terror before it is born", said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Elsewhere in his comments, Cavusoglu warned that the U.S. initiative to set up a militant force near Syria's border with Turkey "irreversibly harms" ties between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, which have already been tense over a range of issues, including Washington's support for the Kurdish militants operating at Turkey's doorstep.

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"Such a development would damage Turkish-American ties in an irreversible manner", the state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Cavusoglu as saying on Wednesday.

And Assad's continued military operations against his own citizens - including the use of chemical weapons, which provoked a military response by the United States last April - have created a humanitarian crisis of millions of refugees and only add to the instability in Syria, the secretary said.

Kurdish forces have not fought the Syrian government much, mainly policing their territory and fighting the Islamic State, although they may later have to choose between fighting government forces and losing their de facto autonomy. The Democratic Union Party called on the Security Council to "move immediately" to ensure the security of Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria.

The organisation said the Turkish attacks were aimed at undermining the Northern Syria Democratic Federation and global efforts to solve the Syrian crisis.

Turkish artillery has already been shelling YPG positions near Afrin, Turkish media reported. The duty of these forces is to protect the peoples of Northern Syria. A spokeswoman for the UN's refugee agency told the BBC that they had not yet received reports of people leaving Afrin, but that it was prepared to help if needed.

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