McCain warns of Turkish-Kurdish ‘train wreck’ in Syria

John McCain, (c) Gage Skidmore.

US Senator John McCain vented his concerns regarding the Trump administration’s choice to go ahead with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria.

In a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain warned General Joseph Votel, head of US Central Command, of how seriously Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan views the issue of US support to the SDF, which Ankara says is a “terrorist group” because of Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“Unless something changes, I foresee a train wreck here, and I’m not sure that the administration recognises how seriously, particularly, President Erdogan views the threat that the Kurds pose,” the senator said.

McCain, the Republican candidate for the 2008 US presidential election, said that the Raqqa operation headed by the US requires Turkey’s cooperation, especially in the use of the Incirlik airbase in Turkey’s south, used by US aircrafts for operations in Syria.

While McCain stressed that President Erdogan “is passionately opposed” to US cooperation with the Kurds, General Votel said the US were doing the utmost to prevent a conflict between Turkey and Syria’s Kurds.

After the hearing, he told reporters that focus should be on fighting the Islamic State and that US presence in Manbij clearly sends that message to both sides.