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US ploys question on pro-regime, YPG/PKK merge in Afrin

US ploys question on pro-regime, YPG/PKK merge in Afrin
Pentagon Spokesperson tries to smooth over issue when pressed by reporters

By Safvan Allahverdi

WASHINGTON (AA) - The Pentagon on Thursday declined to directly comment on the questions about pro-Syrian regime terrorists coming to Afrin to support YPG/PKK terrorists.

Asked if the mobilization of Bashar al-Assad regime forces to Afrin for helping PKK/YPG against Turkish forces makes the U.S. an ally of the Syrian regime, Pentagon Spokesperson Dana White at a press briefing said she is not aware of those reports, adding that she will answer in a written statement later.

"This is a complex battle space and it is why we have said that we need all parties to address the common threat, which is ISIS [Daesh]," White said in a response to similar question about the merging between Iran-backed militias, Pro-regime forces and YPG/PKK terrorists in Afrin.

"The fight is not over. Anything that is not directed toward the fight against ISIS is a distraction and we encourage all parties to focus on that, because there is still work to be done," she responded.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

Turning to a question about Manbij and the meeting between Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and his Turkish counterpart Nurettin Canikli in Europe last week about the city, White described the meeting as "very positive", and it was a very open discussion.

"Obviously, we want Turkey to focus on the common threat, and that's defeating ISIS. But we recognize that Turkey has legitimate concerns, and we're helping them to address it," she added.

Turkey pledges to launch a military operation against YPG/PKK in Manbij, a strategically important city west of the Euphrates in northern Syria, as part of Operation Olive Branch.

Manbij lies northeast of Aleppo but just south of the Turkish border.

Washington has voiced concern about the safety of U.S. troops in Manbij amid Turkey's ongoing operation in northeastern Syria. There are about 2,000 American soldiers in Manbij.

In addition, Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon after the briefing told the Anadolu Agency that the U.S. does not have any connection with the groups in Afrin and the primary focus for the Pentagon is fighting Daesh, which continues in the Middle Euphrates Valley.

source: News Feed
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