US Opposes Escalation in Syria as Erdogan Threatens Ground Offensive

The US State Department spokesperson said Tuesday that Washington opposes any military action that destabilizes the situation in Syria and additionally escalates the retaliatory strikes by Turkey and a Kurdish militia along the Syrian border.

The State Department added in its statement that the United States has urged against any operations, attacks, or escalation by both Turkey and the US’s Syrian partners, the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The United States’ alliance with SDF forces in the fight against ISIS in Syria has caused a deep rift with NATO ally Turkey so Washington had communicated its serious concerns to Ankara, above all, about the impact of escalation on the goal of fighting ISIS.

The Russian envoy to Syria also conveyed on Tuesday Russia’s calls on Turkey to show restraint in its use of excessive military force in Syria.

After the deadly bomb attack in Istanbul more than a week ago that Ankara accused Syria-based Kurdish YPG of masterminding, Turkey’s armed forces initiated an air campaign at the weekend hitting targets in Syria.

Photo credit: AFP

In the meantime, they accused on Monday the Syrian Kurdish YPG of killing two people – a child and a teacher- and wounding six people in mortar attacks from northern Syria when mortar bombs hit a border area in Turkey’s Gaziantep province.

This time, President Erdogan threatened that retaliation operations would not be limited to an air campaign and may involve ground forces, informing at the same time that during the weekend strikes, Turkey’s forces have penetrated 140 km into northern Iraq and 20km into northern Syria with 70 planes and drones.

He emphasized that the impetus for the ground offensive was increased by Monday’s rockets fired by Kurdish groups that killed three people, including a child, when they struck civilian buildings in the Turkish border town of Karkamis.

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