US reiterates its opposition to any military action destabilizing Syria, violating Iraq’s sovereignty
The US State Department said it continues to oppose any military action that destabilizes the situation in Syria, calling for de-escalation in the region to protect civilian life.
Washington has expressed its “serious concerns” to Ankara over the impact of such an offensive on the goal to fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), a State Department spokesperson told Reuters on Monday.
In a separate written statement, the department spokesperson Ned Price reiterated the US opposition to “any uncoordinated military action in Iraq that violates Iraq’s sovereignty.”
Turkish military forces on late Saturday have launched an aerial campaign into Northern Syria and Northern Iraq, targeting the PKK and YPG bases in the region, in response to a bomb attack in Istanbul that killed six people last week.
Turkish Defense Ministry announced the operation by saying “the time of reckoning” in a written statement released on Sunday. In a separate statement, the ministry said 89 targets were destroyed and many terrorists were “neutralized” during the operation “Claw Sword,” while according to several local sources in the region, Turkey's attacks have reportedly left many people dead, including civilians. On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled a ground offensive into Northern Syria and Northern Iraq, following the weekend airstrikes.
"We have urged Turkey against such operations, just as we have urged our Syrian partners against attacks or escalation," the State Department spokesperson said in emailed responses to Reuters’ questions.
On Monday, Pentagon also said it “continues to oppose any military action that destabilizes the situation in Syria or violates Iraq’s sovereignty through military actions uncoordinated with the Iraqi government,” the VOA reported.
“These actions threaten our shared goals, including to continue the fight against ISIS and make sure the group can never resurge,” the US Department of Defense spokesperson Phillip Ventura told the VOA.
A bomb attack on Nov.13 rocked Istanbul’s historical Istiklal Avenue in Taksim district, killing six and wounding 81 people. Turkish authorities accused Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara detained dozens of suspects, including Ahlam Albashir that it deems to be the person who left the bomb that caused the explosion. The PKK and the YPG denied involvement.
Since 2016, Turkey carried out three military operations into Northern Syria to combat YPG, a US-backed group that Ankara sees as an offshoot of the PKK. PKK is an outlawed armed group in Turkey, fighting an insurgency on Turkish soil for almost four decades and designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. The YPG is allied with the West in a fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), forming the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).