US urges Turkey to ‘exercise restraint’ in Syria operation

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC on November 30, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2018
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US urges Turkey to ‘exercise restraint’ in Syria operation

WASHINGTON: The United States called Sunday for Turkey to “exercise restraint” and avoid civilian casualties in its cross-border operation targeting Syrian Kurdish forces.
The call came a day after Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch,” an offensive by Ankara’s troops and allied Syrian rebels against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the town of Afrin.
“We urge Turkey to exercise restraint and ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration and scrupulous to avoid civilian casualties,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
“We call on all parties to remain focused on the central goal of defeating” Daesh, Nauert said.
The YPG has been a key US ally in the war against Daesh, helping to drive the rebel group from swaths of Syrian territory, including its stronghold Raqqa.
But Ankara considers YPG fighters to be “terrorists” linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been engaged in a separatist struggle against the Turkish state since 1984.
A Britain-based monitoring group and a YPG spokesman both said that Turkish air raids killed eight civilians in northern Syria on Sunday.
On Saturday, the YPG’s Birusk Hasakah told AFP that a Turkish bombardment had killed 10 people, including seven civilians.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday that claims of civilian casualties from the offensive were untrue.


Turkey: ‘We do not want to hurt our relationship with Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case’

Updated 22 October 2018
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Turkey: ‘We do not want to hurt our relationship with Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case’

LONDON: Turkey has said it does not want to hurt its relationship with Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in Ankara: "Saudi Arabia is for us an important country, a brotherly and friendly country. We have many partnerships and we would not want these to be damaged."

Kalin added: "Rather than making it an issue between the two countries, there has been a determination for the incident to be brought to light."

More to follow.