Türkiye calls for U.S. understanding of possible operation in Syria

(Xinhua) 13:48, December 02, 2022

ANKARA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar called on the United States on Thursday to show understanding for a possible new Turkish ground operation in northern Syria.

Asked about U.S. officials' statements against possible military action of Türkiye into Syria, Akar said Washington asked Ankara to reevaluate its purpose for a new military incursion.

"They asked us to reconsider. We also explained our sensitivities and wanted them to keep their promises. We stressed that they should understand us," the Turkish minister told reporters.

Akar had a phone conversation with his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin on late Wednesday.

Akar told Austin that the Turkish army targets only terrorists and never targets coalition forces or civilians during its operations in northern Syria, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry's readout for the phone call.

Pentagon said Austin "expressed concern over escalating action in northern Syria and Türkiye, including recent airstrikes, some of which directly threatened the safety of U.S. personnel who are working with local partners in Syria to defeat the Islamic State (IS)."

Austin called for de-escalation and shared the department's strong opposition to a new Turkish military operation in Syria, Pentagon added.

Last week, the U.S. Central Command said its troops were put at risk from a Turkish drone strike on a base in Syria.

Türkiye carried out an aerial operation on Nov. 20 against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

The aerial campaign, dubbed Claw-Sword, was launched after a bomb explosion in Türkiye's largest city Istanbul on Nov. 13 that killed six people and injured another 81.

Ankara has blamed the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), blacklisted as a terror group by the European Union and the United States, as well as its alleged Syrian affiliates the YPG for the attack and vowed to launch a ground operation "soon" in northern Syria.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Liang Jun)


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