US officials announced in a forum in Washington on Wednesday their concerns about Turkey’s possible military operations in northern Syria, saying they will endanger US forces in the region and have disastrous consequences in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS), VOA reported.
“We strongly oppose any Turkish operation into northern Syria and have made clear our objections to Turkey,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Dana Stroul said. “ISIS is going to take advantage of that campaign.”
Concerns grow as incoming intelligence suggests that ISIS is intent on launching operations to free 10,000 fighters held in makeshift prisons across northeastern Syria, guarded by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Stroul and other US officials said.
The United States recognises Turkey’s concerns about Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) activity in Syria and Iraq, Stroul said, however, a Turkish incursion would be a step too far and put at risk US forces and the international campaign against ISIS. “The SDF, if they are under that kind of pressure, they are going to be pushed in the hands of our adversaries.”
“Increased military activity in Syria is only going to increase the instability and the opportunities for ISIS,” State Department acting counterterrorism coordinator Timothy Betts also said at the same forum.
After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 23 May announced a new military operation plan to attack northern Syria, there have been a series of consultations between Washington and Ankara.
However, Erdoğan is persistent about entering northern Syria.