U.S. Defense Secretary: Turkey's safe zone stabilized northern Syria

# 17:36
12 December 2019

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper stated that Turkey's recent operation in northern Syria stabilized the area, APA reports citing Daily Sabah.

Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee alongside Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on December 11, Esper made assessments on the current situation in Syria and their cooperation with the PKK terrorist group's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units-led (YPG) Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

"Fighting a longstanding ally (Turkey) was not part of our commitment with the SDF," Esper said, adding that the commitment with the Kurds was to destroy Daesh but any future commitment requires a broader political framework.

The defense secretary further pointed out that the U.S. did not promise to help the SDF establish an autonomous Kurdish state.

Saying that no cease-fire is perfect, Esper stated that Turkey's "buffer zone," created following Ankara's Operation Peace Spring, had stabilized northern Syria.

As part of two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia, Turkey paused the operation to allow the withdrawal of YPG terrorists from the planned northern Syria safe zone.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate the YPG from the area east of the Euphrates in northern Syria to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.