US official urges ‘de-escalation’ as Turkey strikes Syria

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BEIRUT — A U.S. official in Syria on Friday known as for an “fast de-escalation” following days of lethal airstrikes and shelling alongside the Syria-Turkey border, saying the actions destabilize the area and undermine the struggle in opposition to the Islamic State group.

Turkey this week launched a wave of airstrikes on suspected Kurdish rebels hiding in neighboring Syria and Iraq, in retaliation for a lethal Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on the Kurdish teams.

The teams have denied involvement within the bombing and say the Turkish strikes have killed civilians and threatened the anti-IS struggle.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition struggle monitor, mentioned that 67 civilians, gunmen and troopers, have been killed in Turkish assaults in northern Syria for the reason that airstrikes started.

Nikolas Granger, who’s with the U.S. Central Command — or CENTCOM — and is at the moment in Syria, mentioned Washington “strongly opposes navy motion that additional destabilizes the lives of communities and households in Syria and we would like fast de-escalation.”

The developments are “unacceptably harmful and we’re deeply involved,” he mentioned, and added that the strikes additionally endanger U.S. navy personnel.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened a brand new land invasion of northern Syria concentrating on Kurdish teams. On Friday, he mentioned Turkey would proceed its “wrestle in opposition to all types of terror inside and outdoors our borders.”

Turkey and the USA each think about the outlawed Kurdistan Staff’ Celebration, or PKK, a terror group for the decadeslong insurgency and assaults the group has staged inside Turkey’s borders.

However they disagree on the standing of the principle Kurdish militia in Syria, the Individuals’s Safety Models, or YPG. The Syrian Kurdish group has been a key U.S. ally within the struggle in opposition to IS.

Turkey has carried out three main incursions into northern Syria since 2016 and its forces nonetheless management a part of the nation.

Kurdish officers in Syria have been warning that any new Turkish incursion would disrupt the struggle in opposition to IS, which nonetheless has sleeper cells and has carried out lethal assaults in current months in opposition to the Syrian Kurdish-led opposition forces in addition to Syrian authorities forces.

“We take these threats severely and put together to confront any floor assaults,” Siamand Ali, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces instructed The Related Press.

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Related Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Hogir Al Abdo in Qamishli, Syria, contributed to this report.

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