Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) engaged in clashes with ISIS militants in Manbij. Photo: ARA News
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AMUDE – There are no clashes between Turkish-backed rebels and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.
“In the last 24 hours, my understanding is we continued to see calm in northern Syria, which we think is a good thing. And again, we continue to work very closely with our coalition partner and ally, Turkey, in trying to address their concerns about the situation,” Cook told a press conference today.
“Likewise, we continue to work with our partners in Syria [in reference to SDF] to try and keep the focus where it should be, and that is on the common enemy we all share, and that’s ISIL,” he said, using another acronym for the ISIS group.
The Pentagon spokesman said that there is a constant communication with the SDF and Turkey to avoid clashes near the Syrian-Turkish border.
“This is an important area to the coalition effort, this border area, and we’re going to continue to work with Turkey to try and address their legitimate concerns about what’s happening along the border,” he said.
“At the same time, keep the focus on ISIL and not be distracted at this really important moment in the campaign. We want to keep everyone as laser-focused on ISIL at this moment as we can.” Cook emphasized.
The Pentagon Press Secretary added that the SDF clearing operations continue in Manbij, but that the majority of the SDF have moved east to the Euphrates, despite claims by Turkey that they did not move back. “But the SDF forces in the main have moved east of the Euphrates and we believe they’re honoring that commitment,” Cook said.
He also confirmed that the US coalition has been providing ammunition to the SDF forces, and that there is no indication ammunition have been transferred to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)–as Turkey has claimed.
“We have no indication that that’s happened. We’ve continued to supply ammunition to those groups. This is a transaction. We carefully monitor where that ammunition goes. And again, if people are not abiding by the agreements they have reached with us, then they’re not going to get our equipment, and that’s something we’ve made clear from the start and that’s something we’ll continue to push and demand of our partners on the ground,” he stated.