Rift between US, Turkey widens as Ankara presses Syrian offensive

23 January, 2018, 02:17 | Author: Earnest Huff
  • Trump administration

Turkish airstrikes have killed dozens of civilians, and Kurdish fighters since Ankara launched its "Operation Olive Branch". This operation's most important goals are to stop two terrorist organizations that carry out terrorist attacks against Turkey by using their safe havens in Afrin.

Speaking of Russian Federation, it is noteworthy that Moscow has withdrawn its military personnel from Afrin right before the start of the Turkish operation; an implicit message that Russian Federation was accepting Turkey's right to intervene.

Turkey says it is targeting the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which it considers to be a terrorist group.

Behind a façade of continuity, the deployment of US armed forces in Syria for the purposes that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described in a speech this week represents a departure from what such forces were originally sent to Syria to do.

Tillerson also tried to retain an IS-relevant basis for extending the us presence by linking the Syrian regime to the group.

"An operation by Turkey against Afrin, without there being an attack from there, will lead the country towards civil war if it is successful and will lay the groundwork for a coup if it is unsuccessful", he said on Twitter on January 13.

The UN Security Council has been meeting to discuss the operation, as well as the wider humanitarian situation in Syria.

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While the Trump administration has thus denied the report that caused the invasion and discouraged it, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters Sunday that Turkey "has legitimate security concerns" for launching the invasion.

Merely "terrorists" were targeted, the minister said, noting that the injured were also members of the YPG, according to information gathered from the ground.

Separately, state-run Anadolu news agency earlier said prosecutors in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir had issued arrest warrants for 17 people who shared material "to provoke citizens of Kurdish origin and encourage them to go into the streets". The appropriate US response to that defeat, given what was supposed to have been the mission of USA forces in Syria, would be to declare victory and go home.

But Mr Erdogan said Turkey was determined to press ahead. The latter has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) supported by the US-led coalition have announced that they are considering sending reinforcements to Afrin amid the Turkish operation in Afrin.

Although the exact link is not clear, some associated with the Workers' party have traveled to Syria to fight with the YPG.

"Erdoğan said he would next move on Kurdish-controlled Manbij in an operation called "Olive Branch" that would force the Kurdish militia from all positions west of the Euphrates River", the Guardian reported.

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