Pentagon works to ease Kurdish-Turkish tensions in Syria

Turkish troops have attacked Kurdish forces multiple times since Ankara entered Syria in August.

Pentagon works to ease Kurdish-Turkish tensions in Syria

World Bulletin / News Desk

The US military is working to ease simmering tensions between Syrian Kurdish rebels and Turkey, both fighting the ISIL group in northern Syria, US defense officials said Thursday.

A US-led coalition has trained and armed the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces -- most of whom are Kurdish -- to attack the IS group.

Turkey, a Key NATO ally, has also entered Syria, where it, too, is fighting the militant group. 

But Turkish troops are positioned behind the Kurdish YPG -- considered by Ankara to be a terrorist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

"This week, we're facilitating joint discussions with Turkey, the SDF and other coalition partners to promote deescalation in the area," coalition spokesman Colonel John Dorrian said. 

"Every party to these discussions has an overriding interest in common -- this is the defeat of ISIL, an enemy that threatens us all," he added, using an alternate acronym for the IS group.

Turkey, which has also sent troops into northern Iraq, is focused on preventing the Kurdish peshmerga there and the YPG in Syria from linking up and forming a contiguous proto-state along the Turkish border.

Ankara has repeatedly said it would not allow a "terror corridor" on its southern frontier and that it wants to prevent the joining of the Kurdish "cantons" of Afrin and Kobane.

A senior US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kurdish forces had slowed their advance on the IS Syrian stronghold of Raqa because they are worried the Turks will attack them.

"Their biggest concern is the Turks behind them are threatening to attack them and that's what caused them to hesitate to move forward," the official said. 

 

Last Mod: 09 Aralık 2016, 10:05
Add Comment