A US military
official says Turkish and Kurdish
forces in northern Syria have reached a “loose agreement” to stop fighting each other.
“In the last several hours, we have received assurance that all parties involved are going to stop shooting at each other and focus on the ISIL threat,” Colonel John Thomas, US Central Command spokesman, told AFP, using another acronym for the Daesh terrorist group.
“It’s a loose agreement for at least the next couple of days and we are hoping that will solidify,” he added.
Thomas said Turkish forces and militants from the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had opened communications with the US and between each other “with the goal of limiting hostilities.”
On Monday, the US Defense Department called for an immediate de-escalation in clashes between Turkey
and Syrian Kurdish forces, saying the fighting is “unacceptable” and a “source of deep concern.”
“This is an already crowded battle space,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a written statement. “Accordingly, we are calling on all armed actors to stand down immediately and take appropriate measures to de-conflict.”
Ankara launched a bloody offensive in northern Syria last week and killed 25 Kurdish forces on Sunday, a day after a Turkish soldier died in a rocket attack allegedly by the YPG.
Ankara regards the YPG and YPD as allies of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.
The US-allied YPG, which controls nearly the entire northern border of Syria with Turkey, has been fighting against Daesh. Conversely, Turkey is running a dual military campaign in Syria targeting both Daesh militants and the YPG.
The situation adds to simmering tensions between Ankara and Washington when Turkey’s government is still reeling from last month’s failed coup, which it says Washington was too slow to condemn.