Turkey should suspend military operations, Moran says

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WASHINGTON (WIBW) — Saying “countless innocent lives” are at risk, Sen. Jerry Moran called on Turkey to suspend its military operations in northern Syria immediately, arguing the country’s actions are jeopardizing all of the gains made in the fight against ISIS.

In a Twitter thread, the Kansas Republican said those gains include making the region safer for Christians and other minorities and pointed out one of the members of the U.S.-led coalition against the terrorist organization, the Syrian Democratic Forces, is primarily composed of Kurds, “who have bravely battled ISIS.”

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters terrorists linked to a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey and says the offensive is necessary for its own national security.

While President Donald Trump pulled American forces from their positions near the Turkish border, Moran noted U.S. forces remain in eastern Syria to support their Kurdish partners.

In addition to asking Turkey to end its military operations, Moran is urging Ankara to work with the United States on solutions that promote stability in the region, which he says has made good-faith efforts to address its security concerns.

On Friday, Turkish forces pushed their way even deeper into northeastern Syria. The cross-border offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters set off another mass displacement of civilians.

Turkey reported its first military fatality Friday, saying a soldier was "martyred" in the fighting. Earlier, at least six civilians were killed in Turkey and seven civilians have been killed in Syria.

The Turkish ministry statement that reported the death of a soldier also said three soldiers were wounded in the action but didn't provide details. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said a total of 342 "terrorists" — Ankara's parlance for Syrian Kurdish militiamen — were killed in the incursion so far. Those figures could not be independently verified.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters terrorists linked to a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey and says the offensive is necessary for its own national security.