White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby said that while the US recognizes Turkey’s legitimate security concerns along the Syrian border, it is crucial for Ankara to understand American operations within the country, in response to a question about a drone strike in Syria that killed three civilians, the Rudaw news website reported.
Regional Kurdish authorities have confirmed the casualties of the attack, identifying the deceased as Yusra Darwish, co-chair of the Qamishli canton’s administrative council and Liman Shawish, an adviser to the Kurdish-led autonomous administration. Their driver. Gabriel Chamoun, the Syriac co-chair of the Qamishli council, was wounded in the incident.
While Kirby declined to comment on that specific report, he emphasized the US mission in Syria as part of the coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), pledging continued cooperation with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“Turkey has legitimate security concerns on that border. They have fallen victim to terrorist attacks from across that border. We understand that,” he said. However, he highlighted the need for Turkey to grasp the reasons behind US actions in Syria, who they are partnering with and why those partnerships exist.
“Our mission inside Syria is, in part, as part of the Counter-ISIS coalition. We do work with the SDF to go after ISIS targets because ISIS is still, although much weaker, still a viable threat there in Syria and even in Iraq,” said Kirby.
Tensions have been escalating between Turkey and the United States due to the latter’s alliance with the SDF, a group spearheaded by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey vehemently opposes the YPG and the Kurdish-led autonomous zone in Syria’s northeast, accusing them of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community.