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Trump urges Turkey's Erdogan to 'de-escalate' operation in Afrin

Caspian Region Backs Turkey's Afrin Operation In Syria

The Turkish military, supported by allied Syrian militia fighters, launched a major offensive against the Afrin region of northwestern Syria on Saturday, saying it aimed to crush the Kurdish YPG fighters who control that part of Syria.

In a phone call with his Turkish counterpart on Wednesday, President Donald Trump warned Ankara against any move that could lead to a confrontation between USA and Turkish forces, the AP said.

The White House readout said "He (Trump) urged Turkey to deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees".

"A statement by the United States to set up "border forces" on the Turkish frontier as well as other actions of Americans for the downfall of the Syrian statehood and backing the militant groups have caused a negative reaction of Ankara", the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, announced the move late on Wednesday as a Turkish military assault on the city of Afrin, in northwest Syria, continued for a fifth day.

Turkey has said it will extend its incursion in Syria to the town of Manbij, taking its forces to the edge of the US-backed Kurdish presence in the country's northeast and raising the spectre of a military standoff with Washington.

The Kurdish militia that controls Afrin, the People's Defense Units (YPG), has the support of several thousand USA special forces in the region.

On the sidelines of a foreign ministers' meeting, which was held in Paris on Tuesday, Cavusoglu met U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The letter indicated that there are more than 200 Christian families living in Afrin, which is an isolated part of the Syrian federation bordering areas controlled by Islamist rebels and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Russian government has stated that it will urge the United Nations to put a stop to Turkey's military operation in Syria.

The US hopes to use the YPG's control in northern Syria to give it the diplomatic muscle to revive UN-led talks in Geneva on a deal that would end Syria's civil war.

You can change your mind on Brexit, top European Union official tells UK
In his speech, Tusk said Brexit is set to become a reality "unless there is a change of heart among our British friends". In a referendum on 23 June 2016, 51.9% of the participating United Kingdom electorate voted to leave the EU.

The Pentagon would not answer questions Thursday about the future of United States troops deployed to the key flashpoint in Syria amid demands by Turkish officials that American forces withdraw to allow for a Turkish military incursion against US-backed Kurdish forces there.

Xelil also said that Turkey had exaggerated the number of Kurdish fighters killed since the start of the operation, but declined to clarify how many have been killed.

The White House statement concluded saying, "The two leaders pledged to improve the strategic partnership between the USA and Turkey, particularly in "fostering regional stability and combating terrorism in all its forms", including ISIS, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), al-Qa'ida, and Iranian-sponsored terrorism".

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation statement said Turkey has suffered from terrorism and has the right to self-defense but urged Ankara to do so in a "proportionate and measured way", the Associated Press reported.

Ties between the two countries soured in 2016, due to restrictions imposed by Austrian authorities on Turkish politicians who wanted to campaign in the country ahead of a key referendum in Turkey.

In Washington, McKenzie said the USA and Turkey were continuing talks about a "secure zone" but there had been no final decision.

Heavy shelling and airstrikes targeted Afrin with the Turkish government vowing to continue the offensive until eradicating the Kurdish fighters along its southern border with Syria.

The militant group has suffered major territorial losses amid separate but simultaneous military campaigns by the Russia-backed Syrian government and the USA -backed Kurdish-led forces in eastern and northern Syria.

Turkish warplanes struck the northern borders of Afrin, in tandem with heavy artillery shelling, and one civilian was killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

A senior USA official said that as of Tuesday the Turks had not been ready to engage in detail on such a proposal.

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