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US officials: new Turkish intervention in Syria may force us to withdraw

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — US officials have raised fears that Turkey could launch a new military campaign against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said Thursday that there were growing signs Ankara was preparing to intervene in eastern Euphrates, a move that would pose a threat to the remaining 1,000 US troops in Syria.

The officials stressed that Washington may have to withdraw its troops from Syria if Ankara launched a new operation there, and one described the scenario as disastrous, adding: “Perhaps we will have no option but to withdraw.”

Another official said the Americans’ concerns were in particular because they were not convinced whether Ankara would notify Washington in advance of the start of its alleged new operation in Syria, likely less than 48 hours before the intervention began.

A third official pointed out that the likelihood of this scenario appears to be increasing due to the movements of the Turkish army in the south of the country.

Military officials said they accepted the consequences that the withdrawal of US troops from Syria would bring to Kurdish units, Washington’s biggest ally on the ground in the country, stressing that a new armed conflict between Turkish forces and Kurdish fighters would raise the possibility of a US exit.

For their part, Turkish officials expressed disappointment at the slow progress in consultations with their American colleagues on the establishment of safe areas for refugees in northeastern Syria.“We are moving too slowly, and we fear that the Americans are trying again to buy time, ” said one.

Issues related to Washington’s military presence in Syria now depend on the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Miley.

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