Turkish Deputy PM Urges US to Help Avoid Face-Off Between Troops in Syria
REUTERS/ Murad SezerMiddle East17:13 31.01.2018Get short URL
ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Wednesday urged Washington to pursue efforts to avoid confrontations between the countries’ troops within Ankara’s military operation against US-backed Kurdish militia in the Syrian northern district of Afrin.
“Turkey and the United States, certainly, should not meet face to face [in Syria’s north.] We do everything to avoid it, however, these efforts should not come only from Turkey. The US representatives, who are located in the region, should also take efforts not to meet with Turkey,” Bozdag told the TGRT broadcaster.
Earlier in the month, the US announced it was not going to pull out its military forces from Syria’s Manbij as Ankara revealed the plans to expand its military activities to the region amid its operation in Afrin. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also called on Washington to pull out its troops from Manbij in order to prevent possible encounters between the militaries of the two allied nations.
The Turkish Armed Forces launched a joint operation with the Free Syrian Army opposition against the Kurdish forces in Afrin on January 20. The district is controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) militias, which Ankara considers affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey and several other countries.
Damascus has strongly condemned Ankara’s actions, with the Syrian Foreign Ministry calling them a violation of the country’s sovereignty.