US criticizes Turkey strikes on Kurd militia in Syria

Washington: The United States on Wednesday voiced concern over Turkey’s strikes on Kurdish militia posts in Syria, which led a Kurdish-led force to suspend its fight against the Islamic State group.

“Unilateral military strikes into northwest Syria by any party, particularly as American personnel may be present or in the vicinity, are of great concern to us,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.

“Coordination and consultation between the United States and Turkey on issues of security concern is a better approach,” he said.

Turkey, which has long battled a Kurdish insurgency within its borders, earlier Wednesday killed four fighters in shelling Kurdish militia positions in Syria near the border at Kobane.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a day earlier had vowed to “destroy” the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara brands as a terrorist group.

The YPG dominates the Syrian Democratic Forces, joint Arab-Kurdish units backed by the United States that have been fighting the Islamic State extremists and suffered a deadly counterattack last week.

Palladino said that the United States has been in touch both with Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces “to emphasize the need to de-escalate the situation.”

He stressed that Turkey remained a partner and said that the United States was “fully committed to our ally’s border security.”

[source_without_link] Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]