A Raging Fight Exists over Syria Policy within the Administration


"Turkey has legitimate concerns about terrorists crossing the border into Turkey and carrying out attacks", he said, adding that the USA has asked Turkey to "just try to be precise, try to limit your operation, try to show some restraint".

"We appreciate their right to defend themselves, but this is a tough situation where there are a lot of civilians mixed in", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters while traveling from Paris, according to a pool report.

Speaking to reporters following a cabinet meeting, Bozdag also said nobody had the right to impose limits on its operation against a US -backed Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin region. Such a zone could help stabilize the situation and meet Turkey's legitimate concerns over security, he said.

Her comments came in response to the Turkish offensive on the enclave of Afrin that began Saturday amid the increasing frustration in Turkey - a major North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally - over the 's recently announced plan to beef up US support for a Kurd-majority security force in area. Separately, state-run Anadolu news agency earlier said prosecutors in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir had issued arrest warrants for 17 people who shared material "to provoke citizens of Kurdish origin and encourage them to go into the streets". A planned meeting with embassy staffers was canceled because of the shutdown. Clashes continued for three years until opposition forces overcame the Syrian military, forcing troops to evacuate in September 2015.

An AFP correspondent in the Turkish border village of Hassa saw more Turkish tanks heading towards Syria, enthusiastically cheered by locals.

David Satterfield, a senior State Department official, told the Senate a few days ago that despite this remarkable and outstanding progress to counter terrorism, ISIS and al-Qaeda are still a serious threat. "There's no stepping back from Afrin", he said in a speech in Ankara. Saying it is a violation of 's sovereignty, Mr. Assad's military has threatened to shoot down Turkish fighter jets if they conduct cross-border bombing raids.

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Access to Afrin is restricted, making it hard to independently verify developments. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told CNN on Monday that senior USA defense officials are in Ankara to discuss security matters, including the situation in northern Syria.

Freedom House, a Washington-based watchdog, downgraded Turkey to "not free" from "partly free" in an annual report this month. "It is a really risky situation", he said.

Norbert Roettgen, a conservative foreign policy expert and lawmaker, told Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper the Turkish military operation was in violation of worldwide law, and Gabriel should halt any plans to approve the tank upgrades. The Turkish military, along with special operations teams, returned fire on the building with anti-aircraft weapons and "neutralized" the sniper, Dogan reported. The YPG have bitterly complained about Russian Federation withdrawing its modest presence in Afrin as Turkey prepared to attack.

The Turkish offensive has set nerves on edge across the region.

One Syrian refugee was killed in a Turkish border town after rockets were launched from Syria.

Separately, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov - asked whether the Turkish offensive would complicate the Sochi congress - declined to comment, but said that the preparations for the conference were under way. Police broke up protests Sunday in Ankara and Istanbul, with at least 12 detained in Istanbul.

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