January 20, 2018 / 2:25 PM / a month ago

U.S.-backed Syrian force says will have to respond if Turkey attacks

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces accused Turkey on Saturday of using cross-border shelling as a false pretext to launch an offensive in Syria.

The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting Islamic State, said it would have no choice but to defend itself if attacked. The Kurdish-led SDF controls swathes of north and east Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday a military operation in Syria’s Kurdish-held Afrin region had begun.

Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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