Washington Warns Ankara Against a Military Attack on Northern Syria
The Turkish president reiterated his earlier threats to northern Syria’s Kurdish group that an imminent attack in the northeast would take place.
The American administration warned on Tuesday against any Turkish military intervention in northern Syria, and the Pentagon called for talks to prevent an imminent Turkish attack against the U.S.-backed Kurdish people’s protection units, which Ankara views as a terrorist group.
The warning came after Turkey’s president, Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, had signaled on Sunday his country’s intention to carry out a military assault on the Kurdish-controlled area of the Euphrates in northern Syria.
An Unacceptable Unilateral Action
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has reportedly said during a visit to Tokyo that any Turkish intervention would be unacceptable. Esper called the intended Turkish action “unilateral.”
He added that the United States, Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), share some mutual interests with respect to northern Syria, and that the U.S. will make sure that such a unilateral action will not happen, for it would upset those interests.
On Tuesday, the Turkish president reiterated his earlier threats to northern Syria’s Kurdish group that an imminent attack in the northeast would take place.
Clearing Out Security Threats
In a televised speech, Erdogan said that Turkey has the right to eradicate all possible threats against the national security of Turkey and the Turkish regime would soon move to what he termed the “next stage.”
The Pentagon chief contended that any unilateral action by Turkey against the SDF and the Kurdish people’s protection units would likely disable the SDF from making sure the region is void of any activity by the Islamic State in Iraq and Leavant terrorist group (ISIL), and that holding ISIL’s members in detention will be a difficult mission.
Esper maintained that the U.S. will not abandon the SDF, and that it would protect them in case of a Turkish military attack against Syria.
Talks and Conflict
The defense secretary dispatched a team to Ankara for talks with the Turkish authorities over possible prevention of a Turkish military operation against the Kurds, who live in northern Syria.
Earlier, Ankara accused Washington of hampering a process to set up a “safe zone” inside the northeastern Syrian borders with Turkey that would help clear the region of the Kurdish protection units.
In case a Turkish military incursion takes place, it would be the third such action in recent years, as the Kurds have long sought separation from Turkey.