04:00 GMT04 March 2021
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    According to the US defense secretary, the US and Turkey remain strong partners in the anti-Daesh coalition despite claims from Ankara that it targeted and killed hundreds of Kurdish coalition members in Syria.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States and Turkey remain strong partners in the anti-Daesh coalition despite claims from Ankara that it targeted and killed hundreds of Kurdish coalition members in Syria, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a press conference Thursday.

    "We’re still gathering facts about this report…so I can’t comment on that or confirm that, but our partnership in general is very strong. We work through issues as they arise," Carter told reporters.

    Earlier Thursday, the Turkish military’s General Staff said in a statement that the country's air force had conducted airstrikes against 26 Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) targets in northern Syria.

    The strikes killed between 160 and 200 Kurdish fighters and destroyed 18 targets, according to the statement.

    Carter said he would likely discuss the incident with his Turkish counterpart, Defense Minister Fikri Isik, during upcoming meetings in Turkey and France.

    Ankara considers Syrian Kurds’ People's Protection Units (YPG) to be an extension of the nationalist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist group in Turkey and the United States.

    The YPG and its female counterpart, the YPJ, are founding members of the Syrian Democratic Forces and have led the coalition’s fight against Daesh.


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