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

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

On Aug. 7, Turkish and USA military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home.

Background: Turkish and USA officials agreed August 7 to establish a safe zone on the Turkish-Syrian border to limit movement by forces allied to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the region.

He was referring to recent joint Turkish-U.S. helicopter patrols of the planned safe zone region, as well as a joint ground forces patrol that took place on Sunday.

"We are seeing that the United States is entering a stalling process.and that it is trying get Turkey accustomed to this stalling process", he said in Ankara, adding Washington's approach has so far served the YPG more than Turkey.

Turkey's defence ministry said a delegation headed by Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, deputy commander of the U.S. European Command, and Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command, met Turkish military officials on Tuesday. The deal envisages withdrawal of the People's Protection Units (YPG) towards the south of the safe zone.

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The YPG has been a main U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria. USA troops on Saturday also done patrols with the local Syrian Kurdish-led forces, which irritated Turkey.

The minister's comments arrived as two USA armed service officers were visiting Turkey for talks on what Ankara calls "risk-free zone".

In northwestern Syria's Idlib, where Turkey has troops and where Ankara in 2017 agreed with Moscow and Tehran to reduce fighting, months of renewed conflict intensified in recent weeks and raised prospects of another wave of refugees to Turkey.

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

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey will go on its own if the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates in northern Syria does not start by the end of September.

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