Tangled fight in Syria poses new dangers to US

Tangled fight in Syria poses new dangers to US

Tangled fight in Syria poses new dangers to US

The US Assistant Secretary of State, Jonathan Cohen, warned Ankara against an attack during his visit to Turkey on January 23, but the warning went unheeded and the Turkish offensive went ahead.

Erdogan criticized the USA for its support of the People's Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish force in Syria, an organization it considers a terrorist organization.

She said the USA finds itself in "a tough position" because of Turkey's objections against U.S. support for the Kurdish YPG who it has armed in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria. But earlier this year, US officials confirmed Washington's intention to keep troops indefinitely in northern Syria even after the defeat of IS.

On February 7, US jets and artillery attacked pro-Assad forces in Khusham, an oil-rich area in north eastern Syria outside of the Kurdish region.

"In fact, the $250 million is requested to provide border security support to the governments of Jordan and Lebanon, not for partner forces in Syria".

"Tillerson's visit will likely be cordial", he added, "but I think he'll leave with both sides disappointed".

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The YPG, as the main Kurdish force fighting Turkey is known, is considered a terrorist group by Ankara, and has been an ally of the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster during which "the long-term strategic partnerships between Turkey and the US were confirmed and the sensitivities and priorities of the two countries were handled", according to a presidential source.

"They can say whatever they want".

Erdogan accused the United States of "building an army of terror" on his border and, in extraordinary language from a fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, threatened to "drown" the US-backed force.

The Erdogan government appears eager to stir up anti-American sentiment for domestic political reasons. "You hit us, we will respond aggressively".

Ankara further toughened its language against the USA on February 13, ahead of key meetings in Brussels and Ankara between senior Turkish and American officials. "America's decision to fight against one terror organization with the cooperation of another terror organization has nothing to do with dignity of a state", Yildirim told reporters.

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The Kurds have several times called for President Bashar al-Assad's regime to intervene to defend Afrin, but Damascus has taken no military action so far.

The United States denies those connections and sees the YPG as a key ally in the battle against Islamic State militants.

"They [Turkey] have a legitimate security concern, and we do not dismiss one bit of that, along that border with Syria", he said, adding that the U.S. is "assisting Turkey" and is "going to work closely" with Ankara.

The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee issued a report casting serious doubt on Turkey's claims of a strong linkage between the PKK and PYD, asking the Foreign Office to develop a clear public position on whether it finds the Turkish government's allegations credible or not.

Relations between Turkey and the USA, strained by American support for the Syrian Democratic Forces, are close to breaking down, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday.

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