Need to de-escalate situation in north-east Syria before it becomes 'irreparable': Pentagon

Smoke billows out after Turkish shelling on the Syrian border towns of Qamishli and Ras Al Ain, as seen from Nusaybin, Turkey, on Oct 11, 2019
Smoke billows out after Turkish shelling on the Syrian border towns of Qamishli and Ras Al Ain, as seen from Nusaybin, Turkey, on Oct 11, 2019PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Defence Secretary Mark Esper told his Turkish counterpart they need to find a way to de-escalate the situation in north-eastern Syria before it becomes "irreparable" and said Turkey's incursion risks serious consequences for Ankara, the Pentagon said on Friday (Oct 11).

"While the Secretary reaffirmed (that) we value our strategic bilateral relationship, this incursion risks serious consequences for Turkey," Mr Esper told Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, according to a Pentagon statement, adding that Turkey's actions could harm US personnel in Syria.

"As part of the call, Secretary Esper strongly encouraged Turkey to discontinue actions in north-eastern Syria in order to increase the possibility that the United States, Turkey and our partners could find a common way to de-escalate the situation before it becomes irreparable," Mr Esper said.

The call took place on Thursday, the Pentagon statement added.