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US official: Turkiye won’t back down from military operation in Syria

June 9, 2022 at 4:23 pm

Members of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) continue operations within Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in Ras Al Ayn, Syria on October 17, 2019 [TURKISH ARMED FORCES / HANDOUT – Anadolu Agency]

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said the United States has done everything it can to convince Turkiye to back down from a possible military operation in northern Syria, however, Ankara will not back down from its decision, Anadolu reported.

Leaf made the remarks during the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting held yesterday to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria, the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad and the possible Turkish operation to establish a buffer zone in northern Syria.

Leaf expressed concern about the possible Turkish operation, noting that Washington is in talks with Turkey to prevent the possible operation.

According to the American official, the possible operation “will endanger the American mission in Syria,” adding, “We are doing our best to dissuade the Turkish government from the military operation.”

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“We express our concerns [about the operation], but let’s be frank, [Turkiye] is not backing down,” she said.

For her part, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence (DASD) for the Middle East, Dana Stroul, also expressed concern about the potential Turkish operation, however she said the US acknowledges Turkiye’s legitimate security concerns and urges all parties of the need to de-escalate.

She added that any new attack “may weaken regional stability and endanger US forces and the coalition against ISIS [Daesh].”

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkiye is moving to a new stage regarding its decision to establish a 30 kilometre deep buffer zone in northern Syria, and to cleanse the areas of Tel Rifaat and Manbij from terrorists.