Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Washington: East Euphrates, Manbij A Red Line

Washington: East Euphrates, Manbij A Red Line

Sunday, 16 December, 2018 - 07:30
Members of the SDF and US soldiers patrol the Kurdish-held town of al-Darbasiyah in northeastern Syria bordering Turkey in November. (AFP)
Ankara, London – Saeed Abdul Razek and Asharq Al-Awsat

US officials sent a message to Syrian opposition and military leaders allied with Ankara, saying the East Euphrates area and the city of Manbij are a “red line” to the American army.

In the past two days, contacts intensified between political and military officials from Washington and Ankara after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted his country would launch a new offensive against US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria.

Sources said some Syrian opposition factions have already decided to join the Turkish army in their military operation.

However, Washington urged them against such a step.

“Any participation by the Syrian National Coalition or the Free Syrian Army in any way is an attack on the United States and the Coalition Forces, and it will lead to direct confrontation with Coalition Forces and the United States of America. That will fully destroy the relations between the United States and the Syrian National Coalition and the Free Army,” it warned.

In the message to the Free Syrian Army and National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the American officials said US forces and SDF are intertwined and one cannot be attacked without incurring a response from the other, said the sources.

"When elephants dance, you must stay away from the dance floor," the US officials said.

On Thursday, Ankara sent more forces and military vehicles to areas near the Syrian borders, despite a warning from Washington that any unilateral military action in Syria would be a "grave concern" and "unacceptable.”

Brett McGurk, the US presidential envoy in the fight against ISIS, said Saturday that any Turkish military operation would not be realistic.

For his part, Erdogan’s advisor Ibrahim Kalin said: “We are part of the international coalition against ISIS and we support the fight against terrorists, so we want to coordinate our efforts.”

In return, Abdurrahman Mustafa, head of the Syrian opposition coalition, said any military operation aimed at removing the Kurdish units would be welcomed and supported.

Editor Picks