The United States on Friday demanded that the Syrian government and its Russian allies stop air strikes in northwestern Syria, saying they had a pattern of attacking civilians. “The latest reported incidents reflect a well-documented pattern of attacks against civilians and infrastructure by Russian and Syrian forces,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
“We urge Russia and the Assad regime to resolve this conflict through the UN-facilitated political process and to stop waging war in civilian areas,” she said in a statement.
Earlier, Turkey’s foreign minister has said that his country’s military will attack any Syrian Kurdish fighter that remains along the border area in northeast Syria after a deadline for them to leave expires.
Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters on Monday that Russian and Syrian officials provided information that some Kurdish fighters had pulled out of the border area, but others still had not. The Kurdish withdrawal is in line with a Russian-Turkish agreement reached last week.
Turkey has agreed to “pause” its military action in Syria launched on October 9 on the condition that Kurdish forces withdrew from an initial 120-kilometre area from the border, following a deal with US Vice President Mike Pense last Thursday. Turkey has, however, repeatedly threatened to restart its offensive, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing to “crush the heads” of Syrian Kurdish forces if they failed to retreat.
Ankara says the YPG is a terror group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has waged a bloody campaign against the Turkish state since 1984.
The Turkish military, together with its proxies in Syria, launched an operation on October 9 to clear YPG forces from areas near its border and create a safe zone to repatriate some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey.