The U.S. government on Monday said it was “deeply concerned” about a recent uptick in violence along Syria’s northern border with Turkey, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
State Department spokesman Ned Price urged all parties to “maintain ceasefire lines,” AFP reported, in a statement that arrives days after increased bombardments in the region reportedly killing at least 21 civilians, including children.
“We deplore the civilian casualties in Al-Bab, Hasakah, and elsewhere,” Price said, adding that Washington remained committed “to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and a political resolution to the Syrian conflict.”
Tensions have been on the rise in recent weeks on the Syria-Turkey border amid clashes between Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies and the U.S. backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Turkey sees the SDF, which controls enclaves in northeast Syria along the Turkish border, as an existential threat due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Kurdish authorities on Friday said that a pre-dawn strike by a Turkish drone hit “a training centre for young girls” in the Shmouka area near northeastern Hasakeh province, killing four children and wounding 11, AFP said.
Turkey, which has carried out four military operations into northern Syria, stepped up its attacks in Kurdish-controlled areas of the war-torn country since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to give a green-light for a new offensive against Kurdish fighters viewed by Ankara as terrorists.
Syrian regime forces have deployed in areas controlled by Kurdish fighters near the border with Turkey as part of agreements intended to stem a new Turkish offensive first announced in May and reiterated multiple times with no date given.