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Blinken warns Turkey against Syria offensive

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday warned NATO ally Turkey against a military offensive in Syria, saying it would put the region at risk, Agence France-Presse reported.

Blinken urged Turkey to stick to cease-fire lines established in 2019 after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan renewed threats to “clean up” two northern Syrian cities of Kurdish fighters.

“It’s something that we would oppose,” Blinken told a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

“The concern that we have is that any new offensive would undermine regional stability [and] provide malign actors with opportunities to exploit instability,” Blinken said.

The United States has partnered with Syrian Kurdish fighters to fight extremist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS or Daesh, in war-battered Syria.

But Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters part of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), considered terrorists by Ankara.

“We continue effectively to take the fight through partners to Daesh — to ISIS — within Syria and we don’t want to see anything that jeopardizes the efforts that are made to continue to keep ISIS in the box that we put it in,” Blinken said.

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