14:25 GMT30 March 2020
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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - China hopes that the escalating tensions surrounding the United States' statement on its preparedness to initiate an attack on Ankara over its operation in north Syria can be solved through a political settlement and united efforts to combat terrorism in the region, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Chunying said on Tuesday.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the CNBC news network on Monday that Trump was fully prepared to order US military action against Turkey if necessary amid the current Middle East crisis. Pompeo would not specify in the interview what actions might provoke a US military response.

    "[China] is closely watching the developing situation in Syria and Turkey and we have already called on Ankara to cease its military operation. We hope that all of the parties involved in the conflict will come together in their efforts to combat terrorism and promote a political settlement in Syria in order to support peace and stability in the region", the spokeswoman said.

    The statement comes after the Turkish Foreign Ministry held a briefing a day earlier for military attaches from 63 countries on its current Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria.

    Turkey launched the controversial cross-border offensive in northern Syria on 9 October in an attempt to build a safe zone and clear the area of the Kurdish forces, which Ankara says are affiliated with a terrorist group. The offensive has faced widespread condemnation from across the globe.

    The operation is currently nearing the end of a 120-hour ceasefire agreement that Ankara reached with Washington on Thursday. Turkey is expected to announce its next steps on the offensive later in the day, following talks between Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    United States, war, Syria, Turkey, China
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