U.S. leaders, including President Donald Trump, have appealed for restraint, but appear to have little influence over their North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally when it comes to its battle against the Kurds.
McKenzie said that he had not yet seen a movement of SDF fighters moving from the Euphrates River Valley to reinforce Afrin or Manbij, but was watching closely.
Previous attempts at UN-sponsored peace-making have failed as Syrian government forces backed by Russian Federation and Iran have retaken large parts of the country from rebels since 2015.
On the same day, President Vladimir Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow is closely monitoring Turkey’s military operation in Afrin.
An outright confrontation between the United States and Turkey, once the most stalwart of allies, remains an nearly unthinkable outcome.
For local leaders, the self-ruled Rojava area is an experiment in democratic federalism that could serve as an example for the rest of Syria to follow as it emerges from civil war. Washington stood by while Erdogan warned for months his army would enter Afrin, and Defense Secretary James Mattis acknowledged Turkey’s “legitimate security concerns” once it did.
ANKARA, Turkey – The United States would prefer that Turkish troops “remove themselves” from a conflict in the Syrian border town of Afrin, President Trump’s homeland security adviser said Thursday.
“Thousands of YPG fighters have been killed and wounded”.
Max Hoffman, with the Center for American Progress, said the United States still had considerable leverage and could look at imposing sanctions on Turkey in the future, should Turkish forces disregard warnings on Manbij. “Now the USA is silent, and it’s disappointing”. Turkey’s prime minister said the strikes targeted IS along with Kurdish forces, but IS is not known to have a presence in the city.
The Syrian government has said it is ready to target Turkish jets in its airspace, but has not intervened so far.
A push towards Manbij, in a separate Kurdish-held enclave some 100 km (60 miles) east of Afrin, could threaten United States plans to stabilise a swath of northeast Syria.
In Washington, there is some sympathy for the Kurdish plight.
Erdogan and Trump exchanged views on the latest developments in Syria and Operation Olive Branch launched by Turkey on Saturday with a view to fighting off threats from PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist organizations, according to a statement.
“I’m not in any way critical of the Turkish decisions, but I’m just praying for their longer-term strategic patience”, Bossert said.
“The chance for political negotiations for peace and stability in Syria is there and must not be further hindered by military conflicts”. Patrick Cockburn, a Middle East correspondent for The Independent, said they have good reason to feel the US owes them. This is to be expected since Turkey is invading populated areas, and the Kurds are mostly shelling advancing troops and border posts.
To make matters more complicated, the U.S. and Turkey are diverging on Syria more broadly. If Russia and Turkey are to cement their relationship, they must work harder to harmonise their positions, particularly on the role of the PYD and the future of Assad.
Known as Operation Olive Branch, the move has been met with support from Azerbaijan, Iran and Russian Federation.
Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are pictured at a check point in Azaz, Syria, on January 24.