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US urges de-escalation in northern Syria

After Turkey's airstrikes on Kurdish militias in northern Syria, the United States called for an immediate de-escalation.

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US urges de-escalation in northern Syria

After Turkey's airstrikes on Kurdish militias in northern Syria, the United States called for an immediate de-escalation. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in Washington late Wednesday evening (local time) that the US government is deeply concerned about the recent military actions that are destabilizing the region. They threatened the common goal of fighting the Islamic State (IS); they also endangered civilians and US soldiers stationed in the region.

"We understand that Turkey has legitimate security concerns about terrorism," Price said. At the same time, the US has repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the effects of the escalation in Syria.

According to activists, Turkey attacked Kurdish targets in northern Syria again on Thursday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Turkish forces had attacked a total of thirteen times in several villages. Accordingly, in addition to areas controlled by Kurdish militias, areas controlled by the Syrian government are also affected. There were no victims. The bombings were not carried out from the air, it said. According to Turkey, it also uses guns on the ground.

The Turkish air force also attacked oil production facilities of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the north-east of the neighboring country on Thursday night. This was announced by three people familiar with the processes in the affected region. Accordingly, targets near the city of Kamshli and in the oil-rich Rumeilan area were bombed with drones. According to the SDF, dozens of people were killed, including eleven of their militiamen. It is the first time that Turkey has systematically attacked oil fields under the control of the SDF.

According to his ministry, Turkish Defense Minister Hukusi Akar said on Thursday after a phone call with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that his country wanted to permanently prevent terrorist threats from northern Syria.

Since the night of Sunday, Turkey has been using airstrikes in northern Iraq and northern Syria against the YPG and the banned Kurdish Workers' Party PKK. Ankara blames them for an attack on Istanbul's Istiklal shopping street almost two weeks ago. However, both groups denied this. The United States sees the YPG as a partner in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia in Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also mentioned the possibility of a ground offensive against Kurdish positions. Turkey has said it has attacked hundreds of targets since Sunday, neutralizing a total of 254 terrorists.

"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or directly via RSS feed.

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