Monday, 06 April, 2020


Turkish, US military commanders hold talks on safe zone in Syria

Turkish, US military commanders hold talks on safe zone in Syria Turkish, US military commanders hold talks on safe zone in Syria
Bennie Garza | 10 September, 2019, 23:16

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Washington is stalling in its agreement to create a "safe zone" in northeast Syria, and repeated that Ankara was ready to act on its own if necessary to push back Kurdish fighters.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and US officials agreed to set up a safe zone and develop a "peace corridor" in northern Syria which would address Ankara's security concerns about a Kurdish faction that controls the territory.

Turkey and the US military personnel completed Sunday the first joint ground patrol for the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates.

Turkey, which labels the YPG a terrorist organization, wants the operations to expand rapidly as far as 20 miles (32 km) from its border to create a zone controlled by Turkish troops.

Turkey has accused the United States of dragging its feet over the creation of a buffer zone in northern Syria meant to prevent conflict between Turkish and pro-Kurdish forces in the country.

Cavusoglu said Turkey wanted to work with the United States but was growing impatient. However, Ankara continues to distrust Washington's intentions as USA support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) has continued.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organisation.

The minister's comments came as two USA military officials were visiting Turkey for talks on what Ankara calls "safe zone". US troops on Saturday also done patrols with the local Syrian Kurdish-led forces, which irritated Turkey.

Late last week, the Turkish president accused Europe of failing to fulfil its commitment to pay the agreed sum of 3 billion euros for the detention of refugees in Turkey.

"The Turkish armed forces can enter northern Syria at any time to create a security zone, if the U.S. is inactive in creating a security zone in northern Syria", Cavusoglu added.

The two countries agreed a road map in May 2018 to clear the YPG from Manbij in northern Syria, but Turkey says the withdrawal never happened as agreed. Erdogan and Trump are due to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later this month to discuss developments in Syria, trade and other bilateral issues.

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