January 23, 2018 / 11:07 AM / 3 months ago

Mattis urges Turkish restraint in Syria, eyes toll on civilians

JAKARTA, Jan 23 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged Turkey on Tuesday to exercise restraint in its military operations in northern Syria, which he said had disrupted the peaceful return of refugees and could prove to be an opening for al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“This could be exploited by ISIS and al Qaeda, obviously, that we’re not staying focused on them right now. And obviously it risks exacerbating the humanitarian crisis that most of Syria is going through,” Mattis told reporters during a trip to Indonesia, using an acronym for Islamic State. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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