USA urges Turkey to 'exercise restraint' in Syria operation

Mr Tillerson was reported on Wednesday denying that a border security force will be established, saying the issue has been "misportrayed".

Instead, the USA called on Turkey to focus on the fight against ISIS. "The continuing crisis in Afarin may boost terrorist groups again in the northern parts of Syria".

People look at the damage caused by a rocket fired by suspected Syrian Kurdish fighters from Syria, across the border into the town of Kilis, Turkey, early Sunday.

Turkish state-run media had suggested that the operation would involve airstrikes from warplanes and drones, and that Turkish-trained militia from the Free Syrian Army alliance would be first on the ground in any land offensives.

Egypt has maintained security coordination with Syria during the latter's civil war.

But even more crucial is the attitude of Russian Federation, which has a military presence in the area and is also working with Turkey on a drive to end the civil war.

Following calls from some Turkish pro-Kurdish politicians for people to take to the streets, he warned that anyone protesting in Turkey against the operation would pay "a heavy price". "We will crush whoever opposes us in this national fight and go on".

Turkish troops have targeted these YPG-held Arab villages in artillery and aerial attacks on the US-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border, rebels said.

The European Union and United States have both named the PKK as a terrorist outfit.

"Ghouta, Idlib, Afrin-France asks for an urgent meeting of the Security Council", Le Drian said on his Twitter account.

"France calls on Turkish authorities to act with restraint in a hard context, with the humanitarian situation deteriorating in several regions of Syria as a outcome of the military actions of the Damascus regime and its allies", Le Drian said in a statement. "Now we see how the YPG... are fleeing in Afrin", he said.

Washington had previously called on Ankara to refrain from launching a military incursion in Syria. They were also working to minimize possible losses for Turkish troops, he said, without providing details. Residents in border villages were taking precautions against the bombings, he said.

But Lund said the operation may have domestic political ramifications if Ankara is trapped in a military or diplomatic quagmire over Afrin.

"Our priority is the fight against terrorism", Parly said. "Until now, not many people have come out", Erdogan said in the northwestern province of Bursa.

"We are not alone..."

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Kurdish militia and Turkish forces clashed on the northern and western edges of Afrin. Turkish-backed rebels and U.S. forces have been trading fire there, USA defense officials said. It said measures have been taken to ensure the safety of its servicemen in Afrin, and some troops have been relocated.

The incursion came after Turkish F-16s and artillery units hit nearly all targets in the operation against Kurdish YPG and Islamic State positions, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on television late Saturday.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing YPG are not the only groups in the operation area, Yıldırım claimed, pointing to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants who were allowed to leave Raqqa under USA watch, referring to a BBC report.

Turkish artillery firing on Kurdish position in Afrin, Syria.

Major Yasser Abdul Rahim said the rebels did not seek to enter the mainly Kurdish city of Afrin but encircle it and expel the YPG, which controls it. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to expand the operation to other Kurdish regions.

It's determined to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state across the border in Syria and has used military force in the past against Kurds and ISIS in the northern part of the neighboring country.

The group controls Afrin, in Syria's northwestern Aleppo province, as well as almost 25 percent of Syrian territory, to the east along Turkey's border.

Turkey, however, believes the group has links to the banned PKK, and has for several months been threatening to clear Kurdish fighters from Afrin and another city, Manbij, which lies 100km away.


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