Pentagon says it’s not in crisis with Turkey amid Afrin operation
WASHINGTON - Anadolu Agency
“But this current - this current issue, is a distraction. And we have to focus as allies and on the mission at hand, and that’s defeating ISIL,” White said
On the question about possible safe zones along the Syrian border, White said Turkey has “legitimate security concerns.”
“We’re going to continue to engage with them,” she added.
Joint Staff Director Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, who was also with White during the briefing, said: “Clearly we continue to talk to Turks about the possibility of a secure zone, whatever you want to call it. We’ve looked at that for a couple of years in various different iterations, and - and no final decision on it yet.”
McKenzie added that the Turkish operation in Afrin would make it “hard to focus on why we are in Syria, which is the defeat of ISIS,” using another acronym for ISIL.
He echoed White’s comments, saying, “Turkey has a legitimate national security interest and they are very close to the problem.”
“We haven’t trained or provided equipment for any of the Kurds that are in the Afrin pocket. You know we tend to - we’re focused on the Euphrates River Valley, operations to the south and to the east,” he added.