US State Department “strongly opposes” Turkish ground offensive into Syria
The US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price on Wednesday expressed once again the objection of the United States to a ground offensive by Turkey into Northern Syria.
“Our message on this has been consistent; it’s been consistent ever since our concern about this arose. We’ve continued to make clear – both publicly but as well as privately – that we strongly oppose military action, including a potential land incursion that would further destabilize the lives of communities in Syria and risk, importantly, the global coalition’s hard-earned progress against ISIS,” Price said urging all parties to immediately de-escalate.
Price said escalation in Syria and along the Turkish-Syrian border would be a threat to the safety of civilians and “potentially even U.S. personnel, as we’ve seen with recent attacks.”
Asked if the US was aware of a deadline that Turkey reportedly has given to the SDF to withdraw from three towns, including Manbij, Price said:
“I’m not familiar with that offhand; I’d have to refer you to the Turks.”
Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday that Turkey gave a specific time to Russia and the US to clear Manbij, Tal Rifaat and Kobane in Northern Syria from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to stop a military incursion into the region.
On November 20, Turkey launched Operation "Claw-Sword" against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG,) the main component of SDF in Northern Syria, after blaming the group for masterminding the bombing that took place on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul on November 13 that killed 6 and wounded over 80 people.
The Turkish forces launched air and artillery strikes on the positions of the Kurdish units in the countryside of Aleppo, Hasakah and Raqqa, and vowed to expand their strikes to include a ground operation, which was opposed by the United States and Russia.