Pompeo Says US Did Not Green Light Turkey to Invade Syria
00:36 10.10.2019(updated 01:03 10.10.2019)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday announced a military offensive against Kurdish groups within Syria following US President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to pull US troops out of the region.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview with PBS said that Washington did not give Ankara "a green light" for a military incursion into Syria, adding that Ankara had "legitimate security concerns" and claimed that Trump made the decision to move American soldiers out of harm's way.
Pompeo dismissed concerns over allegations that some 12,000 Daesh terrorists detained in Syria by the Kurds would be released to revitalize their movement due to the Turkish invasion.
Erdogan and Trump in a phone call on Sunday discussed the creation of a 'safe zone"' in northeastern Syria. Erdogan claimed that a zone was needed to counter "terror threats" coming from the Kurdish PKK party and the Syrian Kurdish YPG forces, and would allow for the return of Syrian refugees.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Pompeo and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu had a phone conversation after Turkey launched its 'Operation Peace Spring' in northern Syria.
Following aerial and artillery attacks on military positions of the Kurdish militia, Turkish forces launched another military stage of their 'Operation Peace Spring' by advancing into the northern territory of the war-torn country.
An estimated 40 commanders of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been killed or injured as a result of attacks by the Turkish Air Force in border areas in northeast Syria earlier on Wednesday, an eyewitness said.
Turkey, a NATO member, views Kurdish forces in Syria as an extension of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which has been classified by Ankara as a terrorist organization. The People's Protection Units (YPG) is the party's armed wing.
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