Turkey could expand Syria offensive

Saturday, 27 Jan, 2018

He is one of dozens of Westerners who volunteered with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as they fought the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in the terror group's capital Raqqa, and is now heading to the battle in Afrin where Turkish troops have begun rolling in.

The SDF said 308 fighters from the Turkish side had been killed in the first week of the incursion.

Ankara launched its offensive last weekend, attacking the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in the hope of driving out the YPG.

He also criticized calls by USA and other allies for a quick resolution of Turkey's incursion, saying military interventions in places in Afghanistan and Iraq lasted for several years.

Armenian lawmaker Edmon Marukyan, representing the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) made a statement on behalf of the group regarding the military operation of Turkey in Syria's Afrin.

The US said Trump had urged Turkey to "limit its military actions" but a Turkish official said the US statement did "not accurately reflect the content" of the call.

After years of piecemeal U.S. military operations vaguely advancing ill-defined goals, the American position in Syria, and its vast collection of allies and enemies is so inscrutable that the State Department tried, and failed, to clarify what the USA position actually is. "Is that over in Iraq?" he said, referring to the current U.S. military presence in those countries which began with 2001 and 2003 invasions.

"Their presence has been to ensure the stability in Manbij", he said of USA troops.

He also repeated Turkey was not eyeing another country's lands, and Afrin would be handed over to its original owners soon after it is "cleared of terrorists", the source said. In Washington, the Pentagon said that it carefully tracked weapons provided to the YPG and would continue discussions with Turkey.

The United States has fought the Islamic State in Syria, along with the YPG as a reliable ground force, to whom it also provided arms. He emphasized that the US military draws a distinction between these two groups of Kurds: those fighting ISIS alongside the U.S.in the east and those opposed to the Assad regime in the west.

France has called for a UN Security Council meeting Monday to discuss concerns over flashpoint areas in Syria including the Turkish offensive.

Trump's homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, was more blunt in his warning to Turkey as he spoke Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos in Switzerland. A top White House official warned Thursday of "grave consequences" from any miscalculation by Turkish forces.

To Solmazturk, who chairs the Incek debates at the Ankara-based 21st Century Turkey Institute, the US reaction to Turkey's operation is no surprise.

Turkey has said the United States has offered to work on a 30 km (19 mile) safe zone, but it says trust between the allies must first be restored.