US President Donald Trump urged on Wednesday his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “curtail” his country’s military operation in Afrin in Syria, announced the White House.
During a telephone call with Erdogan, Trump called on Ankara to curtail its operations and avoid risking a clash with American forces deployed in the region.
“He urged Turkey to deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties,” a White House statement said. “He urged Turkey to exercise caution and to avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces.”
Earlier, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Paris on Tuesday night in order to discuss the developments in Afrin.
Diplomatic sources said that Tillerson proposed to the Turkish official setting up a 30-kilometer deep buffer zone in order to ease Ankara’s security fears over Kurdish threats from the Syrian border. Washington had previously proposed a 10-kilometer safe zone.
Turkey’s air and ground operation in Syria’s Afrin region, now in its sixth day, targets US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara sees as allies of Kurdish insurgents who have fought in southeastern Turkey for decades.