TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday any Turkish operation into northern Syria would be “unacceptable” and the United States would prevent unilateral incursions, as tensions between Washington and Ankara simmer.
On Sunday, President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey, which already has a foothold in northwest Syria, will carry out a military operation in a Kurdish-controlled area east of the Euphrates in northern Syria.
Action - Turkey - Esper - Reporters - Japan
“Clearly we believe any unilateral action by them (Turkey) would be unacceptable,” Esper told reporters traveling with him to Japan.
“What we’re going to do is prevent unilateral incursions that would upset, again, these mutual interests… the United States, Turkey and the SDF share with regard to northern Syria,” Esper said.
SDF - Forces - US - Backing - SDF
The SDF stands for the Syrian Democratic Forces. With U.S. backing, the SDF, which includes the Kurdish YPG militia, have taken control over the last four years of much of northeastern Syria from Islamic State militants. Ankara sees the YPG as a terrorist organization.
Esper said the United States did not have any “ambition” to abandon the SDF, but stopped short of guaranteeing that the United States would protect them in case of a Turkish operation.
Team - Pentagon - Turkey
A team from the Pentagon was in Turkey to speak with Turkish...
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