U.S., Russia told Turkey they wouldn’t accept attack against SDF: Mazloum

A combined picture of American and Russian military vehicles near the border with Turkey in al-Malikiyah, Syria, and SDF Commander Mazloum Abdi

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The United States and Russia have told Turkey they would not accept any attack against Kurds in northeast Syria, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Mazloum Abdi said. 

Abdi told al-Monitor that the United States and Russia had given assurance to the group that they oppose any attack by Turkey against Kurds in Syria.

In October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was preparing to step up operations in Syria, after an attack which Ankara said was carried out by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) against Turkish soldiers in northern Syria.

Bloomberg reported last month that Turkey deployed hundreds more troops in northern Syria in preparation for a long-suspended offensive against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters.

“The United States said they were opposed to, and would not accept, any attack by Turkey against us,” Mazloum told al-Monitor in an interview published on Tuesday.

“The US officials … informed us that during the last meeting between Erdogan and President Joe Biden [on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome] that Erdogan was told that the United States would not accept any attack against us,” he added.

On November 1, spokesman of U.S. Defense Department John Kirby said the United States would continue to work with the SDF, that has been a partner for the U.S. in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

“We take that partnership seriously,” Kirby said in a press conference.

“We continue to work with them, specifically and solely on the ISIS threat in Syria. And it’s our expectation that, that kind of cooperation and those operations will continue,” he added.

Regarding Russians, Mazloum said Moscow had also ensured them that they had not made any deals with Turkey.

Earlier this month, Middle East Eye reported that Turkish and Russian officials were in talks to launch a military operation in Kobane city, where Turkish drone targeted SDF fighters and civilians last month.

“The Russians told us that they had told the Turks that they would not accept an attack against us,” Mazloum said.

“The Russians said there was no question of them allowing Turkey to attack but that Turkish-supported rebel groups might attack us without Turkey’s authorization,” he added.

The SDF commander, however, said the group would take Erdogan’s threats “seriously” and that they were taking necessary measures with that.

“We are acting as if a Turkish operation against us will be carried out,” he noted.

Turkish forces have launched three incursions in the last five years, seizing hundreds of kilometers of border strip and pushing around 30 km (20 miles) into northern Syria.

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