Saturday, 21 September, 2019

Turkey Accuses US of Stalling in Syria 'Safe Zone' Deal

US military officials in Turkey for Syria ‘safe zone’ talks Turkey accuses US of stalling over creation of north Syria buffer zone
Deanna Wagner | 10 September, 2019, 23:16

The CENTCOM and EUCOM meeting comes days after Turkish and United States military forces began jointly patrolling in northern Syria as part of a plan to establish a safe zone along the Syrian border.

"There have been some joint patrols, yes, but steps taken beyond that. are only cosmetic", he said.

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.

The NATO allies carried out their first joint military land patrol in the region on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists that Washington was too strongly involved with US -allied Syrian Kurdish fighters and was stalling on plans for the safe zone. Ankara considers the fighters terrorists, claiming they are linked to a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey's borders.

However, Washington sees the YPG as a crucial ally against the Islamic State group. "We are ready to provide every necessary support to the USA investors", he highlighted. US troops on Saturday also done patrols with the local Syrian Kurdish-led forces, which irritated Turkey.

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Erdogan also said Turkey would act alone if the safe zone was not established by the end of September, a warning Cavusoglu repeated on Tuesday, 20 days before month's end. The ministry claimed far more discussions would be held Wednesday at a joint operations centre near Turkey's border with Syria.

"Turkey's plans are ready", Cavusoglu said.

Deputy commanders from the US Central Command and US European Command were due to meet their Turkish counterparts on Tuesday, Turkey's defence ministry said on Twitter.

Ustun stressed that there is no consensus on the scope, depth and implementation process of the safe zone.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Sunday rifts stay in the way Turkey and the USA imagine the zone, boasting Washington was "making an attempt to create a secure zone for the terrorist corporation, not for us".