United States warns Turkey over military action in Kurdish enclave

Jan 26, 2018, 01:31
United States warns Turkey over military action in Kurdish enclave

Reuters reports that a US-backed Kurdish militia has deployed fighters to the frontline of Syria's Manbij to fight against Turkey's military as President Erdogan has indicated it would be the next target after Afrin operation.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday spoke with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and urged him to limit his forces' assault against a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria, the White House said, according to AFP. "He urged Turkey to exercise caution and avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces".

United States president Donald Trump stepped up his role on Wednesday, holding a lengthy phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday.

Any push by Turkish forces towards Manbij, part of a Kurdish-held territory some 100 km (60 miles) east of Afrin, could threaten US efforts in northeast Syria and bring them into direct confrontation with USA troops deployed there.

Turkey's Anadolu news agency added that the White House readout "differ (ed) from the truth discussed" and Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the White House of drafting the readout before the conversation even took place.

Rockets fired from Afrin struck the Turkish border town of Kilis, wounding 13 people in the area, the local governor said, the latest in what have been a series of such attacks since the start of the operation.

The Russian government has stated that it will urge the United Nations to put a stop to Turkey's military operation in Syria.

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Kurdish groups have strengthened their control of areas across Syria in recent years as they have taken up arms in Syria's civil war and, in some areas, battled the Islamic State with USA backing.

The Turkish official sources said that President RecepTayyip Erdoğan also told Trump that the U.S.' support to YPG terrorists must end as soon as possible, and Trump told that U.S.is now not supplying and will not supply any more weaponry to the YPG.

"We call upon the Syrian state to carry out its sovereign duties towards Afrin and protect its borders with Turkey from attacks by the Turkish occupier", it added.

However, observers believe that the threat of military response by Syria was a message to the Kurdish fighters in Afrin that if the area was handed over to the Syrian government, the Syrian forces would respond to the Turkish attack as mentioned by Mekdad.

"Turkey's prime minister said the strikes targeted IS along with Kurdish forces, but IS is not known to have a presence in the city", AP posted on Twitter.

The militant group has suffered major territorial losses amid separate but simultaneous military campaigns by the Russia-backed Syrian government and the US -backed Kurdish-led forces in eastern and northern Syria.

Turkey accuses the YPG (People's Protection Units) of having links to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) group within its own borders.

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Some Turkish officials have said the main aim is the creation of a 30-kilometer (20-mile) deep "secure zone" in Afrin, which Turkey says is essential for its security.

Turkey's foreign minister told reporters Thursday that Erdogan had asked Trump to withdraw United States troops from Manbij.

Iran's reaction to Turkey's military operation is not muted either.

The official USA presence in Syria numbers around 5,000.

McKenzie says USA military commanders continue to talk with Turkey about the establishment of some type of safe zone along the border.

State media reported the attack, saying it has repelled the advancing militants.

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