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US Prepared for Military Solution Against IS
International

US Prepared for Military Solution Against IS

US Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday the United States and Turkey were prepared for a military solution against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Syria should the Syrian government and militants fail to reach a political settlement.
The latest round of Syria peace talks are planned to begin on Monday in Geneva but were at risk of being delayed partly because of a dispute over who will comprise the opposition delegation, Reuters reported.
Syrian armed militant groups said on Saturday they held the Syrian government and Russia responsible for any failure of peace talks to end the country’s civil war, even before negotiations were due to start.
“We do know it would be better if we can reach a political solution but we are prepared ..., if that’s not possible, to have a military solution to this operation in taking out Daesh,” Biden said at a news conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS militants who hold parts of Syria.
A US official later clarified that Biden was talking about a military solution to IS, not Syria as a whole.
The United States has sent dozens of special forces soldiers to help rebels fighting IS in Syria, although the troops are not intended for frontline combat.
Along with its allies, Washington is also conducting airstrikes against IS that holds large chunks of Syria and Iraq.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday he was confident Syria peace talks would proceed, after he held talks with the Persian Gulf states in Saudi Arabia.
Saleh Muslim, co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Kurdish political grouping in Syria, said on Friday the Syria peace talks would fail if Syrian Kurds are not represented.
While the United States draws a distinction between PYD, whose fighters it supports, and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey, Davutoglu reiterated the Turkish position that the PYD’s military wing is part of and supported by the PKK.
The PYD’s military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) has seized swathes of Syria from IS with the help of US-led strikes and declared it an autonomous administration, to Ankara’s chagrin.
According to local media, on the way to Turkey from Davos, Davutoglu also told reporters Ankara would strike YPG in northern Syria just like it hits PKK targets in northern Iraq.
Ankara has fought a decades-long insurgency against Kurdish PKK separatists which in July reignited into a violent confrontation with Turkish security forces.
On the first day of his visit, Biden met members of the ruling AK Party, the secularist opposition CHP and the pro-Kurdish HDP largely to discuss the mainly Kurdish southeast. He criticized the Turkish state for intimidating media, curtailing Internet freedom and accusing academics of treason.
Davutoglu told reporters Biden had not spoken with the right people to get a clear picture of what was going on.
Turkey was cited by Washington as an example for the Middle East of a functioning democracy in the early years of the AK Party, which Erdogan founded.
However, more recently, reforms have faltered and Erdogan has adopted a more authoritarian style of rule.
Last week, Erdogan denounced as “dark, nefarious and brutal” more than 1,000 signatories of a declaration that criticized Turkish military action in the southeast. Security forces detained 27 academics on accusations of terrorist propaganda, while dozens face investigation by their universities.

 

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