Top US military general warns Turkey against Syria incursion

“So anything we can do to de-escalate the situation and prevent that incursion by the Turks will be important,” Gen. Erik Kurilla said.

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The top US military general for the Middle East warned Thursday that Turkey’s potential land operation into Syria could further destabilize the entire region.

“I’m very, very concerned about that because that can destabilize the region and call our SDF partners off of the [ISIS] prisons; they have about 28 prisons across northern Syria,” CENTCOM head Gen. Erik Kurilla said.

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Turkey has been furious with Washington in recent years as the US partners with the Syrian Democratic Forces to fight ISIS inside of Syria and Iraq.

Turkish forces have also recently bombed Kurdish targets in Syria and Iraq, attributing these attacks to a necessary response to the November bomb attack in Istanbul. Turkey blamed a Kurdish militia for carrying out the attack, which the Kurds vehemently denied.

But the Pentagon has said that uncoordinated military actions threaten Iraq’s sovereignty and have repeatedly warned Ankara against carrying out a land operation against the Kurds in Syria.

“It could cause them to pull off of those [prisons] and put those at risk,” Kurilla told reporters in a phone briefing on Thursday. He pointed to the January breakout of almost 4,000 ISIS detainees.

A Turkish invasion could also put the security at risk of Al-Hol camp, Kurilla said. The camp is filled with ISIS sympathizers and families. Estimates place the number of residents inside the camp at around 55,000, with approximately 90 percent being women and children.

“So anything we can do to de-escalate the situation and prevent that incursion by the Turks will be important,” Kurilla said.

Read more: US military carries out three raids against ISIS in Syria, detains senior member

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