US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Tuesday that Turkey’s ground invasion of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria distracts from international efforts to defeat ISIS. Speaking to reporters in Jakarta, he said: “This could be exploited by ISIS and Al-Qaeda obviously, that we’re not staying focused on them right now.” The US and its Kurdish partners, known as YPG are “on the cusp” of fully defeating ISIS in Syria, Mattis said. Humanitarian aid was finally flowing and refugees returning. “The Turkish incursion disrupts that effort.”
This is the first time that anyone in Washington has objected to the Turkish offensive.