Ties with USA at risk of breaking down: Turkey

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The Pentagon released a statement today suggesting that the border security funding was meant to support United States partners in Syria, only to later clarify that the money is meant to support the governments of Lebanon and Jordan to combat the crippled Sunni insurgency along with "other violent extremists, illicit weapons, as well as narcotics smuggling". However, a host of mixed messages from the United States to turkey together with a tendency by Washington to treat Istanbul gingerly has given an assurance that the American interest in Syria which includes a lease for airbases is of so much importance to the USA that it should not fail at any cost.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and ISIL terrorists from Afrin.

Turkey considers the YPG a "terrorist" group linked to Kurdish insurgents fighting within Turkey's own borders.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to have a list of USA concerns for his Turkish counterpart when he visits Turkey later this week as part of a tour of the wider region.

Mohamad says that the ultimate goal of Turkey is to drive the Kurds out of Afrin in order to create a buffer zone under its permanent control. But she acknowledged the Turkish campaign in Afrin "is one of the areas of deep, deep concern on the part of the [Trump] administration and the US government". The president has condemned "brutal Turkish aggression". Needless to say, the fighting had nothing to do with Yazidis or remnants of the Islamic State. "I am calling on the people of the United States - this money is coming out of the budget of the U.S., it is coming out of people's pockets", Erdogan said.

The former chief of energy giant Exxon Mobil, who is on a multi-leg tour of the Middle East, headed to talks with Erdogan at his presidential palace after landing in Ankara from Beirut.

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"The reasonable thing to do is to find a solution through dialogue, and the only possible solution is through agreement".

Meanwhile, according to the Turkish media, just a day before the projected visit, the Turkish Youth Union launched an online anti-Tillerson flashmob under the hashtag #TillersonDefol, literally translated into English as "Get out of Here, Tillerson". Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that acts as an Iranian proxy, joined in soon afterward, at a point when the regime looked in danger of falling, helping Assad hold off the rebels-some of whom received covert American support.

Some 400,000 people live in the enclave, where they have been under siege by the army since 2013, facing severe food and medicine shortages. The United States also delivered $85 million worth of Black Hawk helicopters and 105 mm howitzer cannons earlier in the year.

Some 2.5 million people, including more than one million displaced Syrians, live in the province.

When President Barack Obama started bombing Syria in 2014, he enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington, D.C. Americans were appalled by the atrocities of the Islamic State, which had massacred Yazidis, and seized swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq. "If U.S. soldiers wear the garb of terrorists and hang around with them, and if they attack Turkish soldiers, no doubt we will not have a chance to distinguish between them", said Bozdag last week.