CENTCOM: No Change to Turkish Support of Coalition

Despite sparks in violence between Turkey and US-backed rebels in Syria, there is no concern that Turkey will limit its cooperation with the US in the fight against ISIS and the continued use of its bases, the top US officer in the Middle East said. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command, said during a Tuesday briefing that Turkey’s push into Syria to fight ISIS has been “extraordinarily welcome,” though he continued the push by top US officials to urge Turkey and Syrian Kurds to not target each other. The coalition’s top priority is “getting all partners focused on the fight, which is against ISIL right now,” Votel said. The coalition has not seen any degradation to Turkey’s support, he said. The Syrian Democratic Forces, US-backed rebels that pushed ISIS from Manbij, includes Syrian Kurds – a group Turkey has repeatedly targeted in skirmishes in the region. The SDF is apparently continuing its retreat to the East of the Euphrates River, a move that the US is requiring for continued support. (See also: Carter Calls on Turkey, Kurds to End Hostilities)