The United States does not want Türkiye to pursue military attacks in northwest Syria, even if it recognizes Türkiye’s right to defend itself, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Wednesday.
Türkiye has ramped up its shelling and air strikes on northern Syria in recent weeks and has said it is preparing for a possible ground invasion against Syrian Kurdish fighters that it dubs terrorists but who make up the bulk of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
"We don't want to see military operations conducted in northwest Syria that are going to put civilians at greater risk than they already are, put in peril our troops and our personnel in Syria, or our counter ISIS mission," Kirby told reporters.
The SDF, which helped defeat ISIS in Syria, said on Friday it had stopped all joint counterterrorism operations with the United States and other allies as a result of Turkish bombardment on its area of control.
The US military has confirmed the pause in operations.
The SDF has long warned that fighting off a new Turkish incursion would divert resources from protecting a prison holding ISIS fighters or fighting ISIS sleeper cells still waging hit-and-run attacks in Syria.
The Turkish bombardment, using both long-range weapons and air strikes, has frustrated its NATO ally Washington.
The United States recognizes that Türkiye has a right to defend itself, especially against terrorism, Kirby said.
"We recognize the threat that the Turkish people are under, but we don't believe that ... this idea of military operations in northwest Syria is the best way to get at that threat," he said.