Ankara has summoned the US
ambassador over Washington’s criticism of Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria
On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Tanju Bilgic (seen below) announced that John R. Bass has been summoned over the US’s “unacceptable” criticism concerning the scope of Turkey’s activities in Syria.
On August 24, Turkish special forces, tanks and jets backed by planes from the US-led coalition launched their first coordinated offensive in Syria.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (seen below) called on the Turkish government to stop attacking US-backed factions of Kurdish militants in Syria and to focus on attack against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The Pentagon also called for an immediate de-escalation in clashes between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces on Monday, saying the fighting is “unacceptable” and a “source of deep concern.”
Bilgic also stressed that the US must honor its assurances that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) would withdraw to the east of the Euphrates River.
YPG forces insist that they have already withdrawn to the east of the Euphrates in line with US and Turkish demands.
Ankara regards the YPG and PYD as allies of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. The YPG, which controls nearly Syria’s entire northern border with Turkey, has been fighting against Daesh.
In addition, Bilgic denied a US announcement, confirmed by Kurdish forces, that a truce had been reached between Turkish and Kurdish forces fighting in Syria.
“We are waiting to see if the US is committed to its promise that after the Manbij operation no member of the PYD [Democratic Union Party] or YPG [Peoples Protection Units] would stay in the west of Euphrates,” he said.
Smoke rises from the Syrian border town of Jarablus as it is pictured from the Turkish town of Karkamis, in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 24, 2016. (Reuters)
“The goal of the Euphrates Shield operation is clear,” he continued. “The operation was done according to international laws to protect our sovereignty, and respect for the unity of Syria. The operation will continue as long as terror from that area worries Turkish citizens.”
Earlier, the Turkish military announced that three of its troops had been severely wounded after their tank was hit by rocket fire west of the Syrian border town of Jarablus.
Turkey must halt Syria incursion
Meanwhile, Iran has voiced its concerns over Turkey’s continued military operations on Syrian soil.
“Increasing the scope of activities in northern Syria will result in the deaths of even more innocent people and civilians. The Turkish army must swiftly put an end to its operations in Syria,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi (seen below).
He noted that despite being crucial to regional security, battling terrorism must not breach a nation’s sovereignty and must be carried out in coordination with the nation’s central government.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.