Biden urges Turkey to cease shelling in northern Syria
AFP photoU.S. Vice President Joe Biden has called on Turkey to cease artillery strikes targeting Syrian Kurdish forces in northern Syria, while voicing support for the country’s fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“The vice president [Biden] noted U.S. efforts to discourage Syrian Kurdish forces from exploiting current circumstances to seize additional territory near the Turkish border, and urged Turkey to show reciprocal restraint by ceasing artillery strikes in the area,” a statement issued by the White House said, following a phone conversation between Biden and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Feb. 13, during which the Turkish leader informed the U.S. leader about Turkey’s concerns on the issue.
According to the statement, Biden and Davutoğlu also pledged to work together on protecting displaced people in northwest Syria and ensuring routes to Aleppo remained open for humanitarian aid.
Biden also stressed the U.S. support in Turkey’s fight against the PKK, as well as ISIL militants.
“The vice president expressed support for Turkey’s fight against PKK terrorism and the two leaders reaffirmed their shared goal of defeating ISIL and to work towards a cessation of hostilities, as agreed in Munich [on Feb. 12],” the statement added.