The United States on Monday criticised clashes between Turkish forces and some opposition groups in northern Syria as "unacceptable" and called on all armed actors in the fighting to stand down and focus on the fight against Islamic State. "We want to make clear that we find these clashes - in areas where ISIL is not located - unacceptable and a source of deep concern," Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter Islamic State, said on his official Twitter account, citing a defense department statement. "We call on all armed actors to stand down... the U.S. is actively engaged to facilitate such deconfliction and unity of focus on ISIL, which remains a lethal and common threat." Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies seized territory controlled by Kurdish-aligned forces on Sunday, the fifth day of a cross-border campaign that a monitoring group said had killed at least 35 villagers.
The chief spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said on Monday that Turkey's claims that is it fighting YPG forces west of the Euphrates river in northern Syria were untrue and a pretext for seizing Syrian territory. "There are absolutely no YPG military reinforcements being sent towards Manbij. Turkey's claims that it is fighting the YPG west of the Euphrates have no basis in truth and are merely flimsy pretexts to widen its occupation of Syrian land," Redur Xelil told Reuters.