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U.S.-Led Coalition Helps To Build Border Force In Syria

A U.S. officer speaks with a fighters from the Kurdish YPG at the site of Turkish air strikes near the northeastern Syrian Kurdish town of Derik in April.

The U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremist group Islamic State (IS) says it is working to create a 30,000-strong border-security force in Syria.

The coalition said on January 14 that the force will be deployed at the borders of the area controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Arab and Kurdish militias dominated by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia.

It said that about 230 individuals were currently undergoing training in the force's inaugural class.

About half of the force will be SDF veterans, the coalition also said.

Backed by the U.S.-led coalition's air strikes, advisers, and weapons, the SDF has ousted IS militants from swathes of northern and eastern Syria.

Its members now control territory bordering Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, and Syrian government forces to the west.

Turkey reacted sharply to news of the border force, with Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying it would "legitimize a terror organization."

Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist group affiliated with the Kurdish PKK, which has waged an insurgency in Turkey for decades.

There was no immediate reaction from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to the border-force announcement.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters