Pentagon Urges Turkey to Halt Its Invasion Into syria
An “impulsive” decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to invade northern Syria will further destabilize a region already caught up in civil war and puts America’s Syrian Kurdish partners “in harm’s way,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday.
Washington is “greatly disappointed” by the Turkish incursion, Esper said at a Pentagon news conference, adding that the invasion has damaged relations with Turkey, a NATO ally. It also has raised the prospect of losing control of thousands of captured Islamic State fighters.
Esper called on the Turks to halt their operation, but he told reporters that he has no indication they are willing to do so.
“To be clear,” Esper said, “we are not abandoning our Kurdish partner forces, and U.S. troops remain with them in other parts of Syria. The impulsive action of President Erdogan to invade northern Syria has put the United States in a tough situation.”
The remarks were the Pentagon’s most explicit criticism of the Turkish operation, which began Wednesday as a campaign against the Syrian Kurd-led militia that has partnered with U.S. forces over the past five years to fight the Islamic State.
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