Trump urges Turkish president to scale back military action in Syria

Trump urges Turkish president to scale back military action in Syria
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President TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to scale back military operations in a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria during a phone call Wednesday.

Trump cautioned Erdogan against taking any actions that could risk a potential clash between Turkish and American forces, according to the White House.

Trump also said Ankara and Washington should instead keep their focus on defeating ISIS militants.


The call came four days after Turkish forces launched an attack into Afrin, a city in northwestern Syria which is controlled by a Kurdish group known as the YPG.

The Turkish government regards the YPG as an insurgent group and a threat against Turkey.

YPG fighters, though, also comprise most of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which worked with the U.S.-led international coalition to clear ISIS militants from much of northeastern Syria.

The U.S. does not back Syrian Kurdish fighters in Afrin, but the Turkish attack in the region and Erdogan's pledge to expand operations have raised tensions between Washington and Ankara.