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Türkiye has right to defend itself against terror: White House

FILE PHOTO: Turkey and U.S. flags are seen in this picture illustration taken August 25, 2018. Picture taken August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration//File Photo

Türkiye is facing a terror threat on its border with Syria and has the right to defend itself, the White House said on Nov. 22. 

Turkey does continue to suffer a legitimate terrorist threat, particularly to their south. They certainly have every right to defend themselves,” coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, told reporters.

He said the U.S. has concerns about cross-border operations, which he said would affect the fight against the ISIL terror group carried out by another terror organization, PKK/YPG.

The operations “might force a reaction by our SDF partners, that would constrain their ability to fight against ISIL,” Kirby said. 

Türkiye carried out an aerial military campaign, dubbed Operation Claw-Sword, on Nov. 20 over northern regions of Syria and Iraq. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled to proceed with Operation Claw-Sword, with a ground incursion.

“How many troops from the Land Forces should be involved here; our relevant units, our Defense Ministry, General Staff decide together. We do our consultation, and then we will take our steps accordingly,” he told reporters on his flight from Qatar to Türkiye on Nov. 20.

Formerly, Russia has called for Türkiye to exercise “restraint” and warned against “destabilizing” Syria, where Türkiye has launched aerial strikes.

“We understand and respect Türkiye’s concerns regarding its own security. We believe this is the legal right of Türkiye,” stated Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.