US Will 'Try Its Very Best' to Stop Turkish-Kurdish Clashes in Syria - State Department Official
00:44 11.10.2019(updated 01:29 11.10.2019)
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump noted that one of three possible choices the US has regarding Turkey's "Operation Peace Spring" in northern Syria would be to mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds.
According to a senior official from the US State Department, Washington will try its 'very best' to stop Turkish-Kurdish clashes in northern Syria that started following the launch of Turkey's "Operation Peace Spring" on Wednesday.
"Our position is that this was a mistake for Turkey to do, that we will try our very best to get this thing stopped", the official said Thursday.
Commenting on measures that the US could take in the event that Turkey engages in "inhumane and disproportionate" moves against civilians during its military invasion into northeastern Syria, the official said that Washington could impose sanctions on Ankara.
"That would include ethnic cleansing, it would include in particular indiscriminate artillery air and other fires directed at civilian population. That's what we're looking at right now. We haven't seen significant examples of that so far", the official said.
The official claimed that Turkey sought to gain military support from the United States for its invasion, but was denied.
"The United States will not give any military support [to Turkey]," the official said on Thursday. "It was asked by the Turks at various levels at various times, including on the call [between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan] on Sunday. That was made clear to the Turks".
The official stressed that Trump asked US diplomats to broker a ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish forces in Syria.
"We have been tasked by the president to try to see if there are areas of commonality between the two sides (and if) there's a way that we can find our way to a ceasefire", the official said.
Earlier in the day, Trump proposed three methods of ending a new war in northern Syria. One of the options was a "deal between Turkey and the Kurds".
Ankara's so-called Operation Peace Spring was launched on Wednesda and, according to government statements, is aimed at creating a 'safe zone' near the Syrian-Turkish border. The territory on the Syrian side of the border is currently controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Ankara believes are affiliated with the PKK, similar to the People's Protection Units (PKK-YPG).
The Turkish military said on Thursday that it had struck 181 Kurdish targets in the course of its invasion and had killed at least 219 PKK-YPG fighters.
Meanwhile, local media have reported civilian casualties inflicted by Turkish weapons.
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