US, Turkey at Odds Over Potential Syria Incursion • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

US, Turkey at Odds Over Potential Syria Incursion

Turkish president said his country could launch an operation in Syria to create a “safe zone”

The United States is in talks with Turkey over its potential incursion into Syria, as experts warn that a new military operation could test recently improved relations between Ankara and Washington.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Wednesday that Washington has been in contact with Turkish officials since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this week that his country would go into northeast Syria to create a “safe zone” along the border between the two countries.

“We have engaged with our Turkish allies on this question, in the first instance, to learn more about the proposal that President Erdoğan first voiced within recent days. We’ve done so from our embassy, from the department here as well,” Price said.

The statement comes a day after Price said the US condemns any escalation and that a new offensive would undermine stability in the region.

Erdoğan on Monday said that Turkey would continue working on the safe zone that it started with earlier incursions into Syria.

“We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30-km-deep safe zone we established along our southern border,” Erdoğan said, according to the Associated Press.

If Turkey conducts such an operation, this will anger the US side and will again raise the discussions that Turkey should be sanctioned

Turkey has launched three offensives in Syria in order to, it has said, clear the area of Kurdish forces and to allow Syrian refugees to return to their country.

Ankara argues that the Kurdish forces in northeast Syria, known as the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) could attack Turkey or transfer arms to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has launched a decadeslong insurgency within Turkey.

Turkey, the US and the European Union have classified the PKK as a terrorist organization.

However, the US has worked with the YPG in Syria to fight against ISIS.

The Turkish government has said that creating a safe zone in northern Syria would allow refugees from the country to return home.

The approximately 3.7 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey have created domestic pressure for Erdoğan and tensions have recently heightened between refugees and the local population ahead of scheduled elections next year.

Oytun Orhan, the coordinator for Levant Studies at the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Studies, told The Media Line that there is a strong possibility the US would impose financial penalties against Turkey over a military operation.

“If Turkey conducts such an operation, this will anger the US side and will again raise the discussions that Turkey should be sanctioned,” he said.

Such a result would be especially hurtful to Turkey’s economy right now which is experiencing a major increase in inflation and declining currency.

Source: The Media Line

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the Observatory.

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