Pentagon: 'Unacceptable' if Kurds displacing local Syrians
Thousands of Syrian Arabs, Turkmens flowing into Turkey as Kurdish fighters conduct offensive against Daesh

The Pentagon said Tuesday it’s "unacceptable” if Syrian Kurdish fighters push Arabs and Turkmens out of their lands amid a fight against Daesh.

Thousands of Syrian Arabs and Turkmens began flowing into Turkey last week as Kurdish fighters conducted an offensive against Daesh in Tell Abyad, a stronghold of Daesh, giving rise to claims that the fighters are ethnically cleansing local communities by forcing their displacement.

"We certainly have seen these reports, and it is something that we are watching for," said Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren. "Without question it is something that we'll find out unacceptable, if true."

The Kurdish fighters, known as People's Protection Units (YPG), have been backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes that have contributed to the fleeing of civilians.

According to the coalition unit leading anti -Daesh operations, at least 90 airstrikes have been conducted in the al-Raqqah, al-Hassakah and Kobani regions whereKurds are fighting the militants.

"As the Kurdish forces have moved to west [from al-Hassakeh northeastern Syria to Tell Abyad) the airstrikes have moved with them," Warren said, noting that it was a part of the coalition’s strategy to cut off Daesh's supply lines to al-Raqqah – Daesh's self-declared capital.

Warren also said the capture of Tell Abyad was a strategic gain in terms of closing an important route for the fighters and there are still several other routes that could be used to access al-Raqqah.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest warned that cutting off the supply route could lead to a "major flow of foreign fighters, illicit goods and other illegal activity into northern Syria and into Iraq" by the militant group.

During the last several months, anti-Daesh forces have managed to drive the militant group out of northern Syria, thanks to President Barack Obama's decision to resupply Kurdish forces in Kobani, and the cooperation of Turkey in allowing peshmerga forces to cross the country to help Kurds, Earnest noted.

Last Modified: 2015-06-17 08:40:44
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