Russian FM: 5 Russians killed in US Syria strike

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Turkey has also warned the United States to remove its troops from the YPG-held town of Manbij as it threatens to expand its offensive towards the town east of Afrin.

Another case is that of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, who ran a church in Izmir, who has been held on similar charges since October 2016.

In Rome, at a meeting of defense ministers Tuesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis flatly rejected one claim by Turkish officials that the U.S.is leaving pockets of Islamic State militants in Syria to prolong the war. On the road in Jordan, Tillerson calmly stressed the long game.

Tillerson also cautioned that the end of major combat operations in Iraq did not mean the United States and its allies had achieved final victory over the militants.

"We can't overestimate the power of the new dynamics that are emerging as a result of the new phase we're entering in Syria-where the status quo ante has been completely disrupted, and where you're seeing key regional actors jostle and seek to shape where Syria heads, but also lay out their red lines, their stakes", Yacoubian said. Not only could Iran move to position its allied Iraqi militia proxies to challenge any Turkish drive southward, it also could pressure the Iraqi government to not join the Turks in such an endeavor.

The squabble over Syria is, however, just one of a litany of issues burdening Turkey-US relations.

Luke Coffey, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, noted that "a lot of [Erdogan's] rhetoric is for a domestic audience, and it's not new". "Either we will improve ties or these ties will totally break down".

While seeking to oust Assad, Washington improbably sought to simultaneously defeat ISIS, back so-called moderates, avoid radicals, support PYD, use YPG, cooperate with Turkey, oppose Iran, and sidestep Russians.

Testifying, Demirtas told the court that his arrest was linked to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's push to change the constitution to create an executive presidency a year ago.

Turkey invaded northern Syria in 2016 and seized part of the Kurdish region in order to prevent the SDF from creating a contiguous territory along the Turkish border.

While the United States backed away from the plan and Tillerson said it had been "misportrayed, misdescribed", tensions escalated as Turkey moved into Afrin. Further Iranian movement near Israel's borders could trigger a direct confrontation with both Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah, which would likely spark another regional war into which the US would be drawn.

"If we are together in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the United States has to abide by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation rules as much as Turkey", Erdogan said. The U.S., despite Turkey's warnings, continues to support the Kurdish militias in several other towns in the border region.

"We remain concerned over recent events in northwest Syria and call on all parties to remain focused on defeating ISIS", Tillerson added. For instance, the United States supports the YPG units, which are fighting the Daesh terror group in Syria, whereas, Ankara has repeatedly expressed hope that Washington will stop supplying Syria's Kurds with weapons. "At times like this, engagement is all the more important", said a State Department official Friday, while acknowledging, "It's going to be a hard conversation".

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