Mar 03 2018

Pentagon again warns Turkey over Afrin

A Pentagon spokesman has repeated warnings to Turkey over its military operation in Syria’s north-eastern Afrin region.

Speaking on Alhurrah, a U.S. based Arabic language TV channel, Lieutenant Adrian Galloway said that the Afrin operation is hindering the fight against the Islamic State (ISIL).

Noting that the United States understands Turkey’s reasons for initiating the Afrin operation, Galloway continued, "We are now faced with a situation where there is a possibility of withdrawal of forces from the war against ISIL, and this is a situation we cannot tolerate.”

Recalling that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had recently met with the Turkish Foreign Minister and agreed on a framework to resolve issues between the two countries, Galloway said that events in Afrin will form the main agenda of these discussions.

Galloway also said, We are surely concerned about the violence in Afrin. We think that this [Afrin] also distracts from ISIS which is the immediate security threat. Galloway added that "we are very concerned" about the dispute's effects "not only in Afrin but in Syria general." 

President Erdogan about two weeks ago slammed Galloway, without naming and as a US Defence Spokesperson for voicing concern about the civilian casualties in Afrin. And Galloway responded in an email to Ahval.

He also pointed out that on different sides of the Euphrates River in Syria, to the east of which the land is controlled by U.S. backed Kurdish groups and where U.S. troops are present, different scenarios were unfolding "You see that to the east of the Euphrates River, local communities stabilize their cities after the ISIL’s, provide their own security and are recovering. They do this with the help of our coalition, which provides support to our Syrian Democratic Forces in training, guidance and assistance. There is a very different story on the west bank of the Euphrates. You see ongoing massacres by the Syrian regime that have killed civilians and violated the UN Security Council resolutions on alleviating the violence.”

Turkey invaded Afrin on 20th Feb. in an operation codenamed “olive Branch” that aims to gain control of the region from Kurdish groups that Turkey considers terrorists.