Pentagon: Pause to fight Islamic State due to Turkish offensive

The Pentagon admitted today that the Turkish offensive to the Kurdish forces in Syria, with the support of the US, jeopardized the fight against the Islamic state and led to an “operational break-in” in the east of Syria.

Pentagon spokesman Robert Mening told reporters that this pause meant that some land-based Syrian Democrat Forces (SDF) operations, a US-backed group dominated by Kurdish forces under the name of the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), were suspended, Reuters reports.

Mening, at the same time, noted that the air strikes of the US-led coalition against the Islamic state are not threatened.

The fight against the Islamic state is now mostly concentrated in Syria’s smaller, trapped territories, but the YPG forces still need the US to keep the territory under their control, thereby ensuring that the jihadists do not return there.

Although allies within NATO, the US and Syria have different interests in the Syrian civil war, with Washington focusing on winning the Islamic state, while Ankara seeks to prevent Syrian mobs from gaining autonomy and inciting Kurdish rebels on Turkish soil.

In January, Turkey launched an offensive against Afrin to expel the Kurdish forces of the YPG, which they regard as a terrorist group and an extension of the Kurdish uprising in Turkey.

The Observatory also reported clashes Monday between the rebels and IS fighters on the western edge of Jarablus. The Local Coordination Committees, an activist collective, said the rebels captured seven more villages since late Sunday.

Turkish artillery fired 61 rounds against 20 “terrorist” targets in and around Jarablus in the past 24 hours, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

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