Democracy and Class Struggle says a major Turkish Offensive Against Afrin "coincides" with Mattis and Tillerson meeting with Turkish counterparts.
Ankara is pushing Washington to cut its ties with the Kurdish YPG, the dominant force in the SDF – the coalition’s chief ally fighting ISIS in Syria. Turkey believes the YPG is a Syrian branch of the PKK, a named terror organization.
“We demanded this relationship be ended. I mean we want them to end all the support given to the Syrian army of PKK, the YPG,” Turkey’s Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli told reporters in Brussels, a day after meeting US Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
“We demanded this structure be removed from SDF,” Canikli said.
Mattis spoke positively of progress in ongoing talks with Turkey. “I believe we are finding common ground and there are areas of uncommon ground, where sometimes war just gives you bad alternatives to choose from…” he told reporters at the NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels.
“We continue to collaborate on ways to ensure their legitimate concerns are addressed,” he added.
US officials have said they understand Turkey has security concerns on its border with Syria, but has maintained its relationship with the YPG, providing arms and training in the war against ISIS, despite Turkey’s concerns.
Ankara has demanded the United States take back any heavy weapons given to the YPG, alleging that the arms have been used by the PKK against Turkey.
The United States has “never given heavy arms to the YPG so there is none to take back,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday.
Tillerson has arrived in Ankara for meetings with Turkish officials. He will meet Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday morning.