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US official says Turkish offensive in northern Syria unnecessary: report

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A US official has said the United States is not discussing a Turkish offensive in northeast Syria with Turkey and believes no such operation is needed to address Ankara’s security concerns, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The US official, talking to Reuters, dismissed media reports to the contrary as a Turkish defense official was cited by Turkish state media on Tuesday as saying Ankara was discussing with the United States and Russia a potential offensive in a region of northeast Syria controlled by Kurdish-led fighters.

“The US is not discussing a Turkish offensive into northeast Syria with Turkey,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, Reuters reported.

Turkey wants to set up a safe zone in the border area east of the Euphrates River after the majority of US troops pull out of the country.

The US military has been supporting Kurdish-led forces there who are fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Turkey, however, views the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters, the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as terrorists and has threatened to launch operations against them.

“We have had repeated discussions on a security mechanism or ‘safe zone’ in northeast Syria that would address Turkey’s security concerns,” the official said.

“The details of the security mechanism are being discussed and developed, but from the US perspective would not require a Turkish offensive.”

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