Turkey has legitimate security concerns: Mattis

Kristen Gonzales
January 23, 2018

On Saturday, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups from northwestern Afrin region of Syria.

It looks like the Americans do not want to give Iranians access to the Mediterranean from Tehran and prevent Turkey from having connections with Iraq and Syria.

"Participants in the demonstrations also appealed to the United States to support and protect the city of Afrin and to protect it from the threats and military attacks launched by the Turkish forces on this city", the PUK statement read.

Turkey's latest assault is aimed at the People's Protection Units, or YPG, a mostly Syrian Kurdish militia that was instrumental in the fight against the Islamic State.

The United States hopes to work with Turkey to try to create a security zone in Northwest Syria to meet its legitimate security needs, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday according to a U.S. pool reporter traveling with him.

The third trend is that Washington will tend to activate cooperation with Moscow in the Syrian issue with the aim of establishing a mechanism to manage the crisis between the two parties in order to ensure a certain distribution of quotas and influence between them. "We will take no step back", Erdogan said in a televised speech in Ankara.

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"An operation by Turkey against Afrin, without there being an attack from there, will lead the country towards civil war if it is successful and will lay the groundwork for a coup if it is unsuccessful", he said on Twitter on January 13.

Divergence of views on the YPG has been one of the major sources of tension between Turkey and the United States, which view the militia group as an ally in the war against ISIS.

President Tayyip Erdogan has overseen a sweeping crackdown since a failed coup in 2016 that critics say has unjustly targeted pro-Kurdish politicians. The Associated Press reported that had rallied almost 10,000 Syrian opposition fighters for the operation. For the Turkish government, any training of these fighters is seen as a threat and the leadership of Turkey has indicated that if the USA continues its training efforts, those actions will negatively impact the relationship between the two countries.

Opening a almost weeklong trip to Europe on Monday amid a government shutdown back home, Tillerson went to the embassy to greet the us ambassador to Britain. Heading into the weekend, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had claimed Ankara was working with Russian Federation and Iran on its plans to attack Afrin.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Turkish tanks entered northern Syria in an offensive targeting Kurdish fighters How have the key players reacted?

If only! But until then, the news that the U.S.is indeed supporting a courageous Kurdish force in its ongoing fight against terror is an encouraging development.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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