US defense chief “strongly” encourages Turkey to “discontinue actions” NE Syria – Pentagon

WASHINGTON, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar spoke by phone on Thursday, during which Esper “strongly encouraged” Turkey to discontinue actions there, the Pentagon announced Friday.

Department of Defense Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that “as part of the call, Secretary Esper strongly encouraged Turkey to discontinue actions in northeastern Syria in order to increase the possibility that the United States, Turkey and our partners could find a common way to deescalate the situation before it becomes irreparable.” The statement added that during the call, Esper “made it clear that the United States opposes Turkey’s uncoordinated actions as they place at risk the progress made by the Defeat-(IS) Coalition.” It noted that that while Esper reaffirmed “we value our strategic bilateral relationship,” this operation “risks serious consequences for Turkey.” Esper also reiterated his “strong concern that, despite US force protection measures, Turkey’s actions could harm US personnel in Syria.” President Donald Trump had affirmed that the US “does not endorse” Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, announcing that the US Armed Forces will “no longer be in the immediate area”.

Source: Kuwait News Agency