Pentagon: US does not “endorse” Turkish operation in N. Syria

WASHIGTON, The US Department of Defense said Monday that the US “does not endorse” the Turkish operation in Northern Syria, reiterating that the US Armed Forces “will not support, or be involved in any such operation.” Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement “the Department of Defense made clear to Turkey… we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria. The US Armed Forces will not support, or be involved in any such operation.” It affirmed that “in conversations between the Department (of Defense) and the Turkish military we have consistently stressed that coordination and cooperation were the best path toward security in the area.” It added that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley “reiterated to their respective Turkish counterparts that unilateral action creates risks for Turkey.” “We will work with our other NATO allies and Coalition partners to reiterate to Turkey the possible destabilizing consequences of potential actions to Turkey, the region, and beyond,” it stressed.

It added that as President Donald Trump has stated, Turkey “would be responsible, along with European nations and others, for thousands of (IS) fighters who had been captured and defeated in the campaign lead by the United States.” Trump’s decision to pullout from northern Syria resulted in backlash from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, where members of the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees said in a statement that they consider the Administration’s announcement regarding Syria a “misguided and catastrophic blow to our national security interests.” “Not only will this decision further destabilize the region, it will make it more difficult for the United States to recruit allies and partners to defeat terrorist groups like (IS),” the statement added.

For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement “a precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that (IS) and other terrorist groups regroup.” “I urge the President to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat (IS),” he noted.

Furthermore, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement “the President’s decision to withdraw US forces from Northern Syria is a deeply disturbing development.” “Despite what the President might say, (IS) remains a serious threat. This reckless, misguided decision undermines the efforts by our brave service members and our allies to end (IS)’s tyranny,” she stressed.

She affirmed that this decision “poses a dire threat to regional security and stability, and sends a dangerous message to Iran and Russia, as well as our allies, that the United States is no longer a trusted partner,” calling on Trump to “reverse this dangerous decision.”

Source: Kuwait News Agency