A joint press conference was held by the US military spokesperson Myles Caggins, and SDF commanders yesterday. Myles Caggins once again confirmed that the US military will only assist the SDF in its battle against ISIS. It will not provide support if Turkey decides to invade SDF-held territory again.
This can be seen in the below transcription of questions and answers of this press conference:
Q – There are reports of a potential Turkish operation east of Qamishlo, possibly around Tirbe Spi (al-Qattaniyah). This would have a negative effect on the Coalition’s anti-ISIS operations. Do you think these reports are credible, and what steps are you taking to ensure that a further Turkish operation doesn’t interrupt your operations?
The Coalition’s partnership is south of the border, but we of course are aware of different challenges in the region, tensions in the region, and operations particularly by our NATO ally [Turkey]. I’m not familiar with this potential operation that you mentioned. During the previous period, in October and November, with Peace Spring and the agreements that were made, things were looking bleak. Particularly if you were someone living in Ras-al-Ayn or Tel Abyad. But fortunately, the SDF were able to make the decisions to move detainees out of the space.
And since that time, we’ve been able to continue our operations against Daesh like the ones my colleagues mentioned earlier. And we do not see any impact to our operations related to ISIS, related to any of the other regional military forces.
Q: Won’t Coalition condemn its NATO partner Turkey’s attacks on civilians?
Look, the Coalition came together in 2014 because of what was happening with ISIS. And the Coalition has continued to grow every day since 2014, and we now stand at 77 nations and 5 international organizations. One of those international organizations is NATO. And NATO countries sometimes have different perspectives, and also we have countries that are members of both NATO and the Coalition. As a representative of the Coalition, my responses today and our greatest interest with the Coalition is defeating ISIS.
Q: Though this is a political rather than a military issue, what reassurances can the Coalition offer the people of this region that they won’t pull out once again?
Again, this is a difficult issue. I understand that, I empathise with this issue. I’ve explained before, every time I’ve come here, November, March, now. But the Coalition remains committed to this region, and those decisions, as you appropriately point out, are political decisions. The military members here in this region are giving it their all to ensure that there’s no ISIS. They protect critical infrastructure, to ensure ISIS cannot have a source of revenue.
But the soldiers of the soldiers of the USA, feel proud about working with the SDF. They do the best that they can do within the rules and resources that they’re given, to fight ISIS and help our partners. And that’s all I can give you today. And for as long as we’re here, we’re going to give you the best, strongest commitment that we can.