Turkey urged to show restraint in assault on Syrian Kurds

Turkey urged to show restraint in assault on Syrian Kurds”

On Jan. 21, Mattis said Turkey, a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, had alerted the United States ahead of the attack.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish YPG a terror group and an extension of the Kurdish insurgency within its own borders.

Small pockets of IS fighters still active in eastern Syria back up the US justification - for now.

On Jan. 20, the Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Free Syrian Army, launched a military Operation Olive Branch in the Syrian city of Afrin.

"The whole world knows Daesh (Islamic State) is not present in Afrin", Redur Xelil, a senior SDF official, told Reuters.

Although Pierini and other analysts say Erdogan is known for bluster, the former European Union diplomat adds that "if his words translate into military action, you have a real potential for clashes between the Turkish army and U.S. forces". Commenting on the Turkish incursion into Syria, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said: "Turkey has legitimate security concerns". "If the United States doesn't stop this, we will stop it", Cavusoglu was reported as saying on Tuesday.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Assad has denounced Turkey's offensive, along with the Kurdish-led administration of northeastern Syria, who have appealed for a mass mobilization in defense of Afrin.

USA officials are telling the Turks they will help them figure out a negotiated solution that will address their concerns about the Kurds.

"We categorically disagree with the approach of the Americans who have essentially muddied the real investigation of previous instances" of Syria chemical attacks, said Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Hiddo said since 2012, when Afrin came under the control of the YPG, the town has suffered varying degrees of siege, first by opposition fighters, then IS, and now at the hands of the Turkish-led forces.

"People are dying because of this and they're turning their backs on us", she said.

There are an estimated 10,000 Syrian rebels fighting with Turkish forces, taking on between 8,000 to 10,000 YPG fighters in Afrin, according to numbers from Ankara. He said Turkish troops have suffered seven or eight losses.

More than 2,000 USA special forces backed by air power work with the Kurdish YPG, under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) east of the Euphrates to fight the Islamic State jihadist group.

Syria has dismissed recent reports of chemical attacks in the war-torn country as "lies".

For the last few years, the United States could neatly sum its objective in Syria in a single, uncontroversial bullet point: fighting the Islamic State group.

Haley said Russian Federation was "fine" when the JIM found the Islamic State extremist group responsible for using chemical weapons, but when its investigation pointed to the use of sarin and chlorine by President Bashar Assad's government, a close ally, it "threw up smoke to question the findings".

The Observatory said 28 civilians were killed; a number vehemently denied by the Ankara government which insists it is only targeting militants. It blamed Western countries for blocking probes and pressuring investigators after previous chemical attacks.

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