Red Cross brings aid to inaccessible Syria area

Aug 30, 2016, 02:04

The statement also reiterated the USA view that all Syrian Kurdish YPG militia fighters in northern Syria should cross to the east side of the Euphrates, saying the Pentagon "understands this has largely occurred".

The Pentagon is calling on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, as well USA -backed fighters aligned against the Islamic State, to stop fighting each other in northern Syria.

The US envoy for the fight against IS, Brett McGurk, called the clashes "unacceptable" and urged an immediate de-escalation.

The spokesman called for steps to de-escalate the situation and said Washington had once again told the YPG to retreat east of the Euphrates. This has "largely occurred", he added. The US is also an ally of the YPG, which has been the most effective force fighting ISIS.

When the campaign was launched, Turkey's leaders said the aim was to target terrorists of Islamic State and the Kurdish-dominated militia.

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That has put Ankara at odds with Washington and adds to tensions when Turkey is still reeling from last month's failed coup, which it says Washington was too slow to condemn. The Turkish military said it was also shifting operations westwards, which would take it into territory still under Islamic State control.

We have made it absolutely clear that they [pro-Kurdish forces] must go back across the [Euphrates] River. But Ankara says it had seen no evidence of this.

Add to all that the recent coup attempt in Turkey - which Ankara believes the U.S. was far too slow to condemn - and there's a significant risk of increased instability in a region already torn apart by five years of civil war.

Fighters supported by the USA -backed anti-Islamic State Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance said on Monday they would withdraw south after a Turkish push into Syria from the town of Jarablus which Turkey captured last week from Islamic State.

President Erdogan said in a statement the offensive would continue until "the threat of Daesh and YPG/PKK is over". Daesh is an acronym for IS.

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A major ISIS terror attack on a wedding in Gaziantep, a Turkish town near Jarablus, there was a major change in Turkish policy, which led to the military invasion of Syria.

He said those who had lived in the area before fighting broke out should return rather than lose out to new Kurdish migrants.

The statement did not say who the militants were.

A Turkish soldier was reportedly killed when two tanks were hit by rocket fire from Kurdish forces, according to the Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency.

The United States on Monday criticized clashes between Turkish forces and some opposition groups in northern Syria as "unacceptable", calling on all armed actors in the fighting to stand down and focus on battling ISIS.

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