US Claims 'Calm' in Northeast Syria But Turkey Presses Attacks

US Claims 'Calm' in Northeast Syria But Turkey Presses Attacks

Speaking with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday, Russia's top diplomat Sergey Lavrov "expressed Moscow's concern over the actions by the Turkish army and Ankara-backed opposition units in northern Syria and their potential impact on peace efforts in the Syrian conflict", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, quoted by Sputnik.

U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey has designated the PYD and its military component, YPG, to be the Syrian wing of PKK, which has been deemed a terrorist organization by both Washington and Ankara. Remember that U.S. President Barack Obama once said during an interview that he resented President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan because he did not employ his great army to fight DAESH. "We don't expect any change".

Turkey has taken in almost 3 million Syrian refugees since the start of its neighbour's five-year war, and is under pressure from Europe to stem the flow of migrants trying to travel onwards illegally from its shores.

While Ankara maintained a defiant tone, one of the rebel factions fighting alongside Turkey said the combat had eased.

After seething at Kurdish gains on its southern border over the past year, Ankara sent tanks and troops to Syria in pursuit of the Kurds who it insisted were using the remit that the United States had given them as a premise for a land grab that would realise historical ambitions. The aim may be primarily defensive, limited to controlling the zone between Jarabulus and the Kurdish enclave of Afrin 70 miles to the west through Arab and Turkoman proxies backed by the Turkish armed forces.

Turkey understandably sees the Kurdish independence movement a threat and last week moved to protect its interests in Syria. "We aren't terrorists by any definition of the word", he told the Telegraph.

Turkey has revealed little about the strategy behind its first major incursion into Syria, beyond saying it wants to drive Islamic State and Kurdish fighters away from the border.

The Kurdish militias in Syria are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, who have faced a counterinsurgency campaign waged by the Turkish state for over three decades.

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Last week, Syrian rebels backed by Turkish forces launched a surprise offensive to clear both Islamic State and Syrian Kurdish forces from the Syria-Turkey frontier.

Pentagon officials lodged protests from the Pentagon over the Turkish military move putting US special forces advisers who are working with the Kurds in danger.

There were no immediate reports of clashes Wednesday between Turkish forces and the USA -supported Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units), the Associated Press reported, but Turkish jets carried out airstrikes near Jarablus and Turkish artillery fired on targets west of Jarablus.

The YPG are backed by the U.S., which has provided it with training and equipment to fight the Islamic State group in Syria. "Both of them are critical to it", Votel said. With Turkey back in the game as a military force this time, Washington finds itself in a tougher position, having to choose between Ankara and the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Third, we should assure the Turks we will keep the Kurds east of the Euphrates and not support any Kurdish nation-state that involves any secession from Turkey.

Turkey has demanded that the YPG cross the Euphrates river into a Kurdish-controlled canton in Syria's northeast.

Still, a top Syrian Kurdish official said Washington needs to choose who is the more indispensable ally.

Fighters take part in a nine month training program to join the Autonomous Protection Forces (APF) at a training camp in the northern Syrian town of Rmeilane on March 24, 2016.