ANKARA, Turkey – The Latest on developments related to Syria (all times local):
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says his government won't allow the creation of a "terrorist" entity along Turkey's borders, in further comments suggesting that Turkey could expand an offensive in the Syrian enclave of Afrin to other areas.
In a speech in Ankara on Thursday Yildirim again slammed the United States for backing the Syrian Kurdish militia force instead of standing by a NATO ally. Turkey regards the militia as an extension of outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey.
Yildirim said: "It is astounding and unacceptable ... that a country which is supposed to protect NATO's borders is giving open support to armed entities that target our borders."
Yildirim said as many as 300 militants have been "neutralized" — killed, injured or taken captive — so far in the Afrin offensive.
Turkish officials are disputing a White House readout of U.S. President Donald Trump's phone call with Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying it does not "accurately reflect" the content of their discussions.
The officials said Thursday that contrary to a White House statement, Trump did not voice "concerns (about) escalating violence" over Turkey's cross-border operation against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.
The officials said Trump did not use the phrase "destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey" in reference to anti-U.S. statements by Turkish government officials.
They also said that during Wednesday's call, Trump assured Turkey that the U.S. would no longer supply Syrian Kurdish militia with weapons. Turkey considers the group as "terrorists."
The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.