Pentagon Chief Urges Turkey to Stay Focused on Fighting Islamic State
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged Turkey to remain focused on fighting Islamic State militants in Syria, a Pentagon statement on Thursday said, Reuters reports.
Ankara, keen to prevent Syria’s Kurds from gaining autonomy and fuelling Kurdish insurgents on its soil, last month launched a military incursion into the Afrin region of Syria to sweep the Kurdish YPG militia from its southern border zone.
Mattis made the remark during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Nurettin Canikli on Wednesday on the sidelines of a NATO meeting.
Relations between the United States and Turkey, allies within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have become frayed by their diverging interests in the Syrian civil war.
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