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Planned Turkish operation in Syria is a very bad idea (US official)

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) — The United States does not support the planned Turkish operation in northeastern Syria “in any way,” a senior State Department official said on Monday, noting it would not make the region safe from Islamic State threats.

“We have made it clear (to the Turks) that we do not support this process,” he told reporters. “We think this is a very bad idea.” He said such an operation would not make the region safer anymore.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a telephone conversation with President Donald Trump late on Sunday, sought US support for the planned Turkish operation, the US official said. Trump has refused, the official said.

“All the time, Erdogan thought the president would eventually provide some sort of military support,” the official said.

The Trump administration announced late on Sunday the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, citing the cost of staying there, but opened the way for a Turkish strike against Kurdish fighters allied with Washington.

The Turkish presidency said that Erdogan expressed disappointment during contact with Trump about the failure of the US military and security officials to implement the agreement between the two countries on a safe area.

The two NATO countries agreed in August to establish a safe area in northeastern Syria along the Turkish border. Turkey says the United States has been slow to establish the region. It has also repeatedly warned that it will launch its own operation in northeastern Syria.

“This is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever heard,” the US official said when asked about a Turkish plan to resettle millions of Syrian refugees in northeastern Syria.

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