Trump to tell Erdogan of concern over Syria offensive

Trump to tell Erdogan of concern over Syria offensive

Turkey says it's protecting itself against the Syrian Kurdish organization known as the PKK, which dominates Afrin and which Turkey regards as a terrorist group.

The United Nations made clear it was ready and willing to deliver aid to the 50,000 people in Afrin should it be needed as world powers, including the United States, called on Turkey to exercise restraint in the offensive as not to risk causing a major crisis.

Small pockets of IS fighters still active in eastern Syria back up the USA justification - for now. The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders criticized the detentions as a "witch hunt against critics". They are protecting the border and the people.

Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.

Turkey's attack on Syria's Kurds - America's allies in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) - has placed Washington in the middle of escalating tensions that threaten to weaken the U.S. position in Syria.

A push towards Manbij, in a separate Kurdish-held enclave some 100 km (60 miles) east of Afrin, could threaten US plans to stabilise a swath of northeast Syria.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley says reports of the Syrian government using chlorine gas against civilians in rebel-held suburbs of Damascus are "are yet another demonstration of its blatant disregard for global law and cruel indifference for the lives of its own people".

The official says the USA continues to be supportive of Turkey's "legitimate security concerns" and recognize their concern for security along its border.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara's demand that Washington stop supporting the YPG.

The offensive has triggered protests in both Syria and some European capitals with concerns raised about civilians.

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But Ankara has expressed impatience with such sentiments, arguing that the YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has waged a bloody three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.

They also denouncing what they said was Russia's "betrayal" for allowing the military offensive to happen.

Turkey has denied killing civilians, saying it only targets combatants.

He said Kurds are fighting alone without USA help.

'Ankara doesn't intend to occupy Syria, on the contrary, Turkey is clearing it of terrorists, ' Erdogan said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday renewed a threat to extend the offensive east to the city of Manbij, which is under the control of US -backed Syrian Kurdish fighters. He said: "We will not leave the blood of our martyrs on the ground and will continue our struggle until we root out terror".

Worldwide aid groups have no presence in Afrin, which is surrounded by Turkey and rival Syrian forces. He said Turkish troops have suffered seven or eight losses.

Erdogan is angry at United States support for the YPG which he claims is linked to Kurdish insurgents in Turkey.

The YPG is a key U.S. ally against IS and played a major role in driving the extremists from much of northern and eastern Syria.

Communication between the United States and Turkey has continued over Syria, despite the countries' differences.

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