Turkey’s recently launched ground operation in Afrin has prompted mixed reactions from the world community, with many countries stressing the importance of Syria’s sovereignty. The US justified the offensive noting that Ankara’s security concerns are “legitimate,” however, now Pentagon appears to backtrack.
“The violence in Afrin disrupts what was a relatively stable area in Syria and distracts from the international effort to defeat Daesh,” Mattis told reporters traveling with him in Indonesia ona the secretary’s tour of Asia.
“We urge Turkey to exercise restraint in the military action and the rhetoric,” Mattis added.
The Pentagon’s chief earlier stated that the US understands Ankara’s security concerns, provided that it is the only NATO member state which has an active insurgency on its territory. However, he now warns that violence in the Afrin region could be exploited by Daesh terrorists in Syria.
Turkey’s operation in Afrin comes amid mounting tensions between Turkey and the US which has recently begun to form a new security force on the Syrian border which will include Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters affiliated with the YPG.
Turkey has repeatedly raised concerns over Washington’s support for the YPG militias, with the US promising to halt arms supplies to the Kurds.