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Ankara sends its troops deeper into Syria but the US issues a warning over Turkish - Kurdish violence

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Ankara sends its troops deeper into Syria but the US issues a warning over Turkish - Kurdish violence

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Ankara is sticking to its aim of pushing both ISIL militants and Kurdish fighters away from its border by sending its own forces deeper in to Syria.

Both Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) they are backing have already driven ISIL out of Jarablus.

The Turkish military carried out 61 artillery strikes on 20 targets around Jarablus in 24 hours, Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu reported on Monday.

Turkey has insisted Kurdish militia, which it regards as terrorists, retreat east across the Euphrates river.

critical

But the US is highly critical of the continuing offensive as the Turks are increasingly attacking Kurdish-aligned forces which Washington sees as an effective force against ISIL.

The US says attacks on Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which includes Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) is unacceptable.

“We do not support, and we would oppose efforts, to move south and engage in activities against the Syrian Democratic Forces. Further action against the SDF would complicate efforts to have that united front against ISIL that we want,” said Washington spokesperson Ben Rhodes.

Turkish concerns

Turkish which is fighting its own Kurdish insurgency back home became increasingly concerned as Kurdish expansion in Syria increased after the SDF took control of the strategic Syrian city of Manbij from ISIL two weeks ago.

Turkish-backed troops now appear headed for Manbij which the SDF recently retook from ISIL. SDF fighters say they are reinforcing the town but that won’t include Kurdish YPG fighters.

Washington has urged Turkey to stay focused on ISIL and not engage the SDF. The issue is likely to feature in bilateral talks between Turkey and the US at next month’s G20 summit in China next month.

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