November 1, 2018 / 02:20 PM
U.S. expresses concern over Turkey strikes in northeast Syria

Unilateral military strikes in northwest Syria by any party are a great concern to the United States as U.S. military personnel may be present, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in reference to Turkish shelling of Kurdish-controlled areas.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey would soon begin a larger scale operation in the east of River Euphrates in Syria and that the Turkish military had already started an intervention in the area.

 “Unilateral military strikes into northwest Syria by any party, particularly as American personnel may be present or in the vicinity, are of great concern to us,” Palladino said.

According to Ahval Palladino said the United States sought to calm tensions with Turkey.

 “We have been in touch with Turkey and the Syria defense forces to emphasize the need to de-escalate the situation. Turkey is a NATO ally and a key partner in the Global Coalition to Defeat IS, and we are fully committed to our ally’s border security,” he said.

Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said the United States was working with both sides to avoid conflict.

"We are aware of Turkish statements about a planned offensive into northeast Syria and have been in touch with Turkey and the SDF to de-escalate the situation," he told Voice of America.

Coordination and consultation on issues of security would be better for relations between the United States and Turkey, Palladino said.

Turkish armed forces bombarded positions of the Syrian Kurdish militia, the People's Protection Units (YPG), in the Zor Magar region in the east of the River Euphrates on Sunday, and the town of Tal Abyad on Tuesday.

Turkey’s shelling coincides with a campaign by Kurdish forces to push IS out of the remaining parts of Deir al-Zor region in northeast Syria, YPG spokesman Nur Mahmud told Voice of America on Wednesday.

Palladino said the roadmap agreed by Turkey and the Unites Sates over the withdrawal of YPG forces in the northwestern Syrian city of Manbij was an example of cooperation between two countries.

 “You can see American and Turkish forces actively training side by side. That’s a critical mission, and we’re confident that that kind of cooperation is what is needed here,” he said.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday that the training process had been completed and joint patrols of U.S. and Turkish forces would begin in a couple of days.

Reporter’s code: 50101