'They certainly have every right to defend themselves and their citizens,' the White House said about Türkiye, a day after Ankara launched a fresh operation against YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria and Iraq.

Türkiye suffers 'legitimate terrorist threat' US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby said.
Türkiye suffers 'legitimate terrorist threat' US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby said. (AA)

Türkiye is facing a terror threat on its southern border and has the right to defend itself, the White House has said. 

"Türkiye does continue to suffer a legitimate terrorist threat, particularly to their south. They certainly have every right to defend themselves and their citizens," US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, told reporters on Tuesday. 

He said the US has concerns about cross-border operations, which he said would affect the fight against the Daesh terror group carried out by another terror organisation, YPG/PKK.

The operations "might force a reaction by some of our SDF partners, that would ... constrain their ability to continue the fight against ISIS [Daesh]," Kirby added.

Ankara this week responded to a November 13 Istanbul terror attack by destroying targets of the terror organisation with an air operation in northern Iraq and Syria.

READ MORE: Erdogan vows to root out terrorism posing threat to Türkiye's security

Operation Claw-Sword

Early Sunday, Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border aerial campaign against the YPG/PKK terror group which has illegal hideouts across the Iraqi and Syrian borders where they plan attacks on Turkish soil.

The air operation followed the terror attack on Istanbul's crowded Istiklal Avenue that killed six people and left 81 injured.

"We know the identity, location, and track record of the terrorists. We also know very well who patronises, arms, and encourages terrorists," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in northeastern Artvin province.

Türkiye has done its part by respecting every agreement on the security of its border with Syria, he said.

"Hopefully we will root all the terrorists out as soon as possible," added Erdogan.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the terror group's Syrian offshoot.

READ MORE: Istiklal bombing puts spotlight on US support for PKK/YPG

US support to YPG/PKK

The PKK, or YPG, terrorists in northern Syria make up the majority and dominate US-backed SDF.

Washington dubs SDF its key armed ally to fight Daesh, which controlled a vast swath of Syrian territory up till 2017. Türkiye says the SDF is merely a political front to hide the YPG/PKK presence among its ranks.

The continuous US support for the YPG has in the past strained ties between the two NATO allies.

READ MORE: Türkiye begins anti-terror raids in Iraq, Syria after Istanbul bombing

Source: AA