Geneva voices concerns over Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurds

Geneva voices concerns over Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurds

Geneva voices concerns over Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurds

"The two leaders' discussion of Operation Olive Branch was limited to an exchange of views", the official said, on the condition of anonymity.

President Donald Trump urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday to scale back his country's assault on Kurdish positions in Syria, signaling mounting American anxiety that Ankara's latest military foray will jeopardize the USA campaign against the Islamic State and undermine hopes for peace talks aimed at ending the war in Syria.

"President Trump relayed concerns that escalating violence in Afrin, Syria, risks undercutting our shared goals in Syria", the White House said in a statement.

Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

This reaction of the Defense Ministry came after earlier reports that the USA intends to create a 30,000-strong Kurdish-led force in northeast Syria.

A Kurdish official told dpa that USA soldiers remain inside Manbij.

Disagreements over the status and future of Syria's Kurds have strained relations between Ankara and Washington.

"We will clean our region from this trouble completely", Erdogan later said.

"The U.S. needs to review its solders and elements that support terrorists on the ground in a way to avoid a confrontation with Turkey", said the deputy prime minister.

This follows suggestions that Kurdish YPG - People's Protection Units - convoys had previously been deployed from Manbij to Afrin.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, second left, is briefed by a Turkish Army officer at the command center at the command center in Hatay province, Turkey at the border with Syria, Thursday.

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"Turkey has also briefed Allies at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation this week on their operation in northern Syria", Stoltenberg said.

Later, he said Trump should have called him before announcing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, claiming, "I believe this mistake would not have been made if Mr. Trump had made his consultation with us".

The group said that 28 civilians, including eight children, were among those killed. On Wednesday, Kurdish officials said airstrikes hit in the vicinity of the Nissan 17 Dam, which provides power and water to the area, without damaging it.

At least 42 Kurdish fighters have been killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. One military official said U.S. troops in the Manbij area had come under fire from Turkish-backed rebels "within the last week", returning fire in self-defense.

"We are in constant contact with coalition forces, who are conducting patrols on the front lines and aerial patrols - their troops are still in Manbij", Derwish told the German news agency dpa by phone. Turkey regards the militia as an extension of outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey.

The militant group has suffered major territorial losses amid separate but simultaneous military campaigns by the Russia-backed Syrian government and the US -backed Kurdish-led forces in eastern and northern Syria.

Erdogan has called on Trump to stop support of Kurdish armed groups in Syria, said the Turkish administration.

Washington is focused on defeating the so-called Islamic State, while Ankara is anxious to prevent Syria's Kurds from gaining autonomy and fuelling Kurdish insurgents at home in Turkey.

Trump also invited closer bilateral cooperation to address "Turkey's legitimate security concerns".

It would not be correct to discuss establishing a "security zone" in coordination with the USA before trust between Ankara and Washington is re-established, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on January 25.

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