Turkey detains medics for speaking against Syria offensive

Turkey detains medics for speaking against Syria offensive

Kenneth Drake
February 1, 2018

The United States has no plans to withdraw troops stationed near the town of Manbij in northern Syria despite warnings from Turkey to remove its forces immediately, CNN quoted the US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel as saying. "None of the targets bombed are actually military", he said.

"We go through great measures to deconflict", he said.

Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey. However, Germany's Catholic Bishops' Conference last week demanded an end to arms sales to Turkey, including of Leopard II tanks now being deployed in Syria, and called for a tighter military export law.

Throughout Wednesday, Turkish air and land units bombarded PKK/YPG elements on Darmik Mountain, which is located some 30 kilometers northwest of Afrin town center. At least 5,000 civilians have fled the region because of the attack.

USA officials don't seem to have a great handle on what to do now that the Turks are invading, beyond urging them to focus on ISIS.

Hundreds of people attended funerals on Monday for casualties of a Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces in the Syrian border region of Afrin.

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Turkey's Catholic Church, whose seven dioceses and apostolic vicariates have around 53,000 members, according to the Vatican, has not commented on the military campaign.

That city is now defended by a local militia trained to prevent ISIS from returning, Manning said.

He also vowed to "clean up" the YPG-held city of Manbij east of Afrin, where the U.S. has troops.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdish insurgency it has battled for decades.

"We can't build security on the ground without respect for Syrian sovreignty against an enemy (the Kurds) that is no longer ISIS", Macron said. He said the Turkish thrust was a "distraction" - the standard official response to describe the incursion - that is harmful to ongoing efforts to defeat ISIS in rapidly shrinking pockets of territory in the Euphrates Valley in the east.

The 28-year-old Kurdish-German midfielder is a prominent supporter of Turkey's Kurdish minority.