White House: Turkish strikes upset the fight against ISIS

Published November 23rd, 2022 - 07:17 GMT
Kurdish funeral
Relatives mourn over the caskets of 11 people killed in Turkish air strikes during their funeral in al-Malikiyah (Derik) in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, on November 21, 2022. Turkey hit dozens of targets in northern Syria as well as northern Iraq overnight into Sunday, a week after a deadly attack in Istanbul which Ankara has blamed on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). (Photo by Gihad DARWISH / AFP)

The Pentagon said Tuesday that it is monitoring the situation in northern Syria after Türkiye responded to terrorist threats following a deadly bombing in Istanbul.

"We continue to monitor what's happening on the ground and from all aspects of this department. We continue to urge for de-escalation on all sides," spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said at a press briefing.

When asked who the sides were, Singh did not name any party.

She said the Turkish strikes in Syria and Iraq were disrupting the goal of the "enduring defeat" of the Daesh/ISIS terror group.

Her remarks came hours after the White House's National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, said Türkiye is facing a terror threat on its southern border and has the right to defend itself.

"Turkey does continue to suffer a legitimate terrorist threat, particularly to their south. They certainly have every right to defend themselves and their citizens," Kirby told reporters during a webinar.

He said the US has concerns about cross-border operations, which he said would affect the fight against the Daesh/ISIS terror group carried out by the PKK/YPG, another terror organization.

Early Sunday, Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border aerial campaign against the YPG/PKK terror group, which has hideouts across the Iraqi and Syrian borders where they plan attacks on Turkish soil.

The air operation followed the Nov. 13 terrorist attack on Istanbul's crowded Istiklal Avenue that killed six people and left 81 injured.

"We know the identity, location and track record of the terrorists. We also know very well who patronizes, arms and encourages terrorists," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in northeastern Artvin province.

Türkiye has done its part by respecting every agreement on the security of its border with Syria, he said.

"Hopefully we will root all the terrorists out as soon as possible," added Erdogan.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK - listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US and the European Union - has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the terror group's Syrian offshoot.

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