At Least 268 Militants Killed in Turkey's Operation Against YPG

At Least 268 Militants Killed in Turkey's Operation Against YPG”

In a sign of deteriorating relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported that the official US summary "differ (ed) from the truth discussed between the Turkish and US Presidents' phone conversation".

A White House statement says Trump is concerned that by "escalating violence in Afrin, Syria risks undermining our shared goals in Syria".

The U.S. leader also voiced concern, as tensions spike between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, about "destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey", the White House said.

Turkey's air and ground "Operation Olive Branch" in the Afrin region of northern Syria is now in its fifth day, targeting Kurdish YPG fighters and opening a new front in Syria's multi-sided civil war.

Less than a week into Turkey's military operation in Afrin, Washington is exerting pressure on Ankara to de-escalate its activities, amidst heightened United States concerns that the fighting is hurting the broader battle against ISIL in Syria.

Turkish presidential officials on Thursday said a statement released by the White House on the conversation between the US President and Turkish leader "did not correspond to the truth", the Guardian reported.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a USA -backed coalition largely consisting of YPG fighters in concert with other ethnic minorities in the country, also denied Turkey's claims. "We are urging Turkey to de-escalate, exercise caution and avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces", he added. They were deployed there last March to deter Turkish and US-backed rebels from attacking each other and have also carried out training missions in Manbij.

The Observatory has said at least 30 civilians have been killed but Ankara strongly rejects such claims, saying that it is doing everything to avoid civilian casualties.

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"Clearly we are very alert to what is happening, specifically in the area of Manbij because that is where our. coalition forces are", Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, told Reuters news agency.

Criticizing the recent military offensive on social media has landed more than 150 in jail, Turkish state media said Wednesday.

Turkey's military offensive on the Syrian border town of Afrin, controlled by Kurdish fighters, has been long in coming. This would bring Turkish troops and allied forces closer to Washington-backed Kurdish fighters and USA forces who are based near Manbij, but not in or around Afrin. "We would appreciate it and we would urge them to limit the incursion as much as possible".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara's demand that Washington stop supporting the YPG.

Erdogan "has ignored US presidents before when his domestic politics dictated it", Cook said.

On Tuesday, a high-level USA delegation visited Ankara to discuss the details of Turkey's operation in Afrin.

For the past four days, Turkish troops and allied Arab Islamist fighters have been battling their way into Syria's Afrin canton, which is defended by the American-backed Kurdish YPG militia.

This is to be expected since Turkey is invading populated areas, and the Kurds are mostly shelling advancing troops and border posts. "We aim to give Afrin back to its rightful owners".

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