US warns Turkey against cross-border attacks, as it resumes normal patrols in northeast Syria
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) - On Tuesday, the State Department, once again, warned Turkey against attacking northeast Syria, where US troops are fighting ISIS in partnership with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), while CENTCOM announced that it was resuming normal patrols in the region.
Asked at a press briefing, if the US had “any new message” for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly threatened a cross-border ground incursion into Syria, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price affirmed that the US has had a “clear” and “consistent” message.
“We strongly oppose military action, including a potential land incursion that would further destabilize the lives of communities in Syria and risk, importantly, the global coalition’s hard-earned progress against ISIS,” Price said.
He called on “all parties” to “immediately de-escalate,” describing any escalation as “dangerous,” as it would threaten “the safety of civilians and potentially even U.S. personnel, as we’ve seen with recent attacks.”
Later on Tuesday, The Washington Post carried a major story, explaining that US troops were resuming normal patrols with their SDF partners in Syria.
“U.S. commanders restricted such movements,” after Turkey began air and artillery strikes on the SDF, the Post explained. But now US forces are “preparing to resume full ground operations alongside Kurdish partners in northern Syria.”
US troops and their SDF partners “have carried out only limited joint movements in recent days, to conduct security patrols and transport supplies between bases,” the Post continued, citing three officials, who spoke to the paper on condition of anonymity.
The Post also cited Col. Joseph Buccino, CENTCOM Spokesman, who, like Price, warned against any attacks in Syria, while he affirmed, “We’re concerned for the security of the SDF, our vetted, recognized and reliable partners in a place were we’ve withdrawn most troops.
The US currently has some 900 forces in Syria, the Post said.
As a White House official told the paper, the US continues “to make clear” to Turkey “both privately and publicly that we strongly oppose military action, including a land incursion.”
US officials do not seem inclined to challenge Turkey’s claim that the SDF was behind the Istanbul bombing, or at least they are not inclined to do so publicly. although there are substantial reasons to do so.
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Rather, their position, as this official expressed it to the Post, is to acknowledge the legitimacy of Turkey’s security concerns, but to stress that a “military escalation that destabilizes the situation in Syria will [not] resolve those concerns.”