06:54 GMT +326 February 2018
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    Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) head a convoy of U.S military vehicles in the town of Darbasiya next to the Turkish border, Syria April 28, 2017

    Tillerson: US Maintains Communication With Turkey Regarding Situation in Syria

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States is urging Turkey not to engage in any invasion of the Syrian city Afrin and wants Ankara to remain focused on defeating the Daesh terrorist group, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said during a press briefing on Thursday.

    "We would call on, certainly on the Turks, to not take any actions of that sort,” Naurt said when asked about reports that Turkey is considering an invasion of Afrin. “We want everyone there to keep their eye … on the ball. The focus needs to be on ISIS [Daesh].”

    Nauert reiterated that the United States is not creating a border security force in Syria, but rather only trying to ensure that local elements are providing security to liberated areas and blocking Daesh terrorists from escape routes.

    Meanwhile, US officials have been in talks with their counterparts in Turkey regarding the conflict in Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday.

    "Turkey is well-aligned with the objectives Jordan, ourselves, and regional neighbors have: to really see an end of the conflict and create a whole and sovereign Syria. We have been talking to Turkey as well,” Tillerson said before a meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Washington, DC.

    Turkish officials have expressed outrage in recent days over a reported US plan to train Kurdish forces in Syria to patrol the country's border with Turkey.

    On Saturday, the Defense Post news website, citing US military officials, reported that the US-led coalition was training a 30,000-strong force on Syrian territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), to maintain border security.

    The report angered Turkey, which sees the YPG as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that Ankara considers a terrorist organization.

    After the report was published, Tillerson on Wednesday denied that the United States had any intention to create a border force in Syria, saying US officials "mispoke" about the training mission.

    Turkey has threatened to invade the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin to strangle the US-backed Kurdish "terror army" there unless the United States withdraws its support for the planned force.

    Related:

    Turkey May Expand Syrian Operation to Manbij, East of Euphrates Amid YPG Worries
    Ankara to Prevent All Military Support to Syrian Kurds' YPG Militia
    Ankara Retaliates With Artillery Fire at Afrin After Kurdish YPG Missile Attacks
    Turkey Vows to 'Tear Down' YPG Forces, Opens Artillery Fire on Syria's Afrin
    Turkish-Backed FSA Ready to 'Clean YPG Out' From Afrin – FSA Commander
    Tags:
    troops, training, border conflict, tensions, invasion, military, US-led coalition, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Rex Tillerson, Heather Nauert, Turkey, Syria
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