U.S. says it counts on Turkey, Kurds to fight an ISIS resurgence
WASHINGTON, DC, USA – The United States is counting on Turkey and Kurdish fighters to fight off any resurgence of the Islamic State jihadist group (ISIS) in northern Syria, a senior US official said Tuesday, October 22.
"Both Turkey and the SDF have fought against ISIS," said James Jeffrey, US Special Representative for Syria and the anti-ISIS coalition, in reference to the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces and the Islamic State group.
"If they are not forced to face off against each other, we can rely on both of them against ISIS," Jeffrey told a US senate panel.
Jeffrey told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he was not consulted by President Donald Trump until after the start of the Turkish offensive in Syria.
"We've done a pretty good job of bringing this attack to a halt," Jeffrey said. "Turkey has not really gained all that much from this."
He estimated that the number of Kurdish victims of Turkey's advance was "in the low hundreds."
But he said that Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces "in at least one instance did carry out a war crime – and we have reached out to Turkey to demand an explanation."
After talks in Russia's southern city of Sochi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed Tuesday to ensure Kurdish forces withdraw from areas close to Syria's border with Turkey and to launch joint patrols.
Turkey has seized control of a "safe zone" inside Syria about 120 kilometers long (75 miles) and 32 kilometers (20 miles) deep. – Rappler.com