USA: Turkey must 'limit' offensive on Afrin — Pentagon

SOT, General Kenneth McKenzie, Director of the Joint Staff Lieutenant: «If I could just add a little bit to it, we view anything that takes attention away from the Euphrates river valley and operations against ISIS as a distraction, the degree to which it detracts from that focus. We continue to engage Turkey at all levels and we recognise that Turkey has ligitimate security concerns that have to... Еще be dealt with appropriately. They're a NATO ally, we have a long history with Turkey and we recognise that they have significant issues up in the area where they're conducting those operations. The last part of your question I will answer is that there's no sign they're moving towards Manbij at this time.» SOT, Dana White, Pentagon Chief Spokesperson: «Turkey is a NATO ally and we don't always see everything the same but we work together and we work with them with respect to the insurgency that's happening within their border and will continue to help them. But we need all parties to focus on the defeat ISIS campaign.» Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana White said that the Pentagon has stressed to Turkey that it must «limit» its so-called Operation Olive Branch offensive on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria, during a press conference in Washington DC on Thursday. «We have stressed to the Turks to limit the operation, it is a distraction. We've also asked them to restrain themselves and to avoid civilian casualties at all cost,» said White. However, Director of the Joint Staff Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie went on to acknowledge that Ankara has ligitimate security concerns in the region; «we recognise that they have significant issues up in the area where they're conducting those operations,» he said. He went on to confirm that there is «no sign» that Turkish forces are moving towards Manbij. Both White and McKenzie noted that focus should be kept on the combined effort to rid Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) from the region. Turkey launched its offensive against Kurdish YPG militia on January 20. Turkey views the YPG, which is active in northern Syria, as an extension of the banned militant group the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), whose leader is Abdullah Öcalan.

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