United States concerned by 'Turkish incident' in northern Syria, Tillerson says

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attend a press conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London, January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States is concerned about the Turkish incident in northern Syria and is asking both sides to show restraint, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday, according to a pool report.

Turkey shelled targets in northern Syria on Monday and said it would swiftly crush the U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG fighters who control the Afrin region, amid growing international concern over its three-day-old military operation.

“We are concerned about the Turkish incident in Northern Syria,” Tillerson said while on a trip to London, according to a pool report supplied to Reuters.

“We recognize and fully appreciate Turkey’s legitimate right to protect its own citizens from terrorist elements,” he said.

Tillerson said he is asking that both sides show restraint and minimize civilian casualties, and that the U.S. is aiming to “see what we can do to work together to address turkey’s legitimate security concerns.”

Writing by William James, editing by Guy Faulconbridge