Bozdag: Turkey 'sensitive' over civilian security in Afrin

Ties with US at risk of breaking down: Turkey

The report also said 11 Turkish soldiers were killed along with 11 other fighters, the highest death toll on any single day among the Turkish allied forces since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch.

Operation Olive Branch started on January 20, 2018, in order to protect Turkey's sovereignty along the borders with Syria and reassure Daesh's actions inside Syria would not harm the country's security and stability. Initially, U.S. criticism was muted, but that changed later due to an increasing flow of YPG-led SDF militants who traveled to Afrin to fight the Turkish military and Turkish threats over the Syrian town of Manbij where the is a U.S. special forces presence.

While the USA has worked to strengthen the Syrian Kurdish force, called the YPG, to help combat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization within its borders.

Turkish president's security and foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin met with U.S. National Security Adviser Herbert Raymond McMaster in Istanbul over the weekend, while foreign and defense ministers of the two countries are scheduled to meet respectively in Ankara and Brussels in the coming days.

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"Turkey is an ally and we're going to work with them, but this current issue offensive is a distraction and we have to focus as allies on the mission at hand and that's defeating ISIS", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

Gen. McMaster's visit comes less than a week after President Erdogan called upon Washington to withdraw its cadre of US military advisers from Manbij, or risk attack from Turkish counterterrorism forces.

The joint statement released by the White House stressed the importance of shared interests and once again described bilateral relations as strategic.

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