Saturday, 20 April, 2019

United States urges de-escalation following Turkey's assault on Syrian Kurdish-led forces

An American military delegation arrives in Tal Abyad on Wednesday An American military delegation arrives in Tal Abyad on Wednesday
Jeannette Daniel | 01 November, 2018, 07:56

"We are aware of Turkish statements about a planned offensive into northeast Syria and have been in touch with Turkey and the SDF to de-escalate the situation", he added, while saying that the U.S. military was "working closely with the SDF who are in the midst of offensive operations against ISIS in the Middle Euphrates River Valley", calling the U.S. allies "a committed partner against ISIS".

"We have finished all our preparations [and] plans ... regarding the issue", Erdogan added.

The YPG, the dominant group and leader of the US -allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), controls almost all of the territory east of the Euphrates, including regions along Syria's border with Turkey.

"Soon, we will descend on them with more comprehensive and effective" force, said Erdogan, who has long vowed to clear all of northern Syria of the militia.

US forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units fighters, drive their armored vehicles on April 28, 2017, near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey.

Under the deal, American and Turkish troops would jointly patrol Manbij, which lies west of the Euphrates.

"Over the past year, 1,451 PKK members, 40 members of a far-left terrorist organization were neutralized and 336 Daesh [IS] members were remanded in custody", Soylu said, as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

Earlier, Turkey carried out an offensive against YPG forces in Syria's Afrin during a military operation called Olive Branch, which was followed by raids against the Kurdish militia in Syria and Iraq.

On Sunday, the Turkish military also shelled villages west of Kobani and towns close to Manbij.

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This partnership has angered Turkey.

Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday that those patrols will begin soon.

Akar reiterated his country's intention to go after Syrian Kurdish fighters.

This weekend, Turkey's military fired artillery shells across the border, targeting areas east of the Euphrates River.

Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson told CNN on Tuesday that the United States was encouraging "all parties to avoid escalation and focus on the most important task of defeating ISIS", adding that "the campaign against ISIS is not over and the fight remains very hard".

Abdullah Agar, a security expert and retired special warfare and commando officer, said the regional dynamics on the eastern Euphrates have been heating up in recent days.

"We are aware of Turkish statements about a planned offensive into northeast Syria and have been in touch with Turkey and the SDF to de-escalate the situation", Cmdr.

"The U.S. needs the YPG against [IS], since Arab [fighters] of SDF are not as efficient, as we can see in Deir el-Zour", he said. "One night we will suddenly come", Erdogan told Turkey's parliament.

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