Pentagon says does not endorse a Turkish offensive in Syria

Syrian Kurds gather around a US armoured vehicle during a protest against Turkish threats in the outskirts of Ras al-Ain town in Syria’s Hasakeh province near the Turkish border on October 6, 2019. (AFP)

The United States does not endorse Turkey’s planned offensive in northern Syria and the US military will not support it in any way, the Pentagon said on Monday, moving to distance itself from an operation that threatens US-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters.

“The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey - as did the President - that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria. The US Armed Forces will not support, or be involved in any such operation,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley have told “their respective Turkish counterparts that unilateral action creates risks for Turkey,” Hoffman said.

US President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to “totally destroy and obliterate” the Turkish economy if Turkey took any action he considered “off-limits” following his decision to withdraw American forces from northeastern Syria.

On Sunday, thousands of Kurds demonstrated in a predominantly Kurdish area on the Syrian border with Turkey against threats of an offensive issued the day before by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54