Washington (AFP) - US-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria have "all" moved east of the Euphrates River, a US defense official said Monday, an action Washington hopes will reduce conflict between two partner forces.
The development comes after Turkey warned it would carry out more strikes on Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) near the key border town of Jarabulus unless they moved to the east.
Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing operations, the official told AFP the YPG had headed east over the past day or so.
"All the YPG are on the east of the Euphrates," the official said.
Still, he said, some Kurds may remain to the west of the river, but these were not part of the YPG.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook earlier said the YPG move east had "largely occurred."
The situation in northern Syria is yet another complication in the country's already tangled civil war, and potentially throws a wrench in US plans to defeat the Islamic State group in the region.
The US-led coalition has been backing the YPG with training and equipment to fight IS, while at the same time the United States has also supported "Vetted Syrian Opposition" groups fighting with the Turks in northern Syria.
Ankara has said it killed 25 Kurdish "terrorists" in strikes on YPG positions on Sunday -- meaning the two US-backed partner forces are now fighting each other.
Turkey's operation aims to push the YPG back across the Euphrates to prevent it joining up a region east of the river already under its control with a Kurdish-held area to the west.
Ankara fears the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria would bolster Kurdish rebels across the border in southeast Turkey.