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Turkey says Washington is stalling on Syria 'safe zone'

Turkey says Washington is stalling on Syria 'safe zone'”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Washington was too strongly involved with US -allied Syrian Kurdish fighters and was stalling on plans for the safe zone.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said that the United States' approach to the safe zone agreement has been unsatisfactory and that the steps it has taken have only been "cosmetic".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Turkey and the U.S. agreed last month to set up the buffer zone in Syria to keep Kurdish forces away from the Turkish border, launching joint patrols in the area on Sunday.

On Sunday, Turkish and United States troops carried out their first joint military land patrol there.

His comments came after President Tayyip Erdogan said at the weekend that Turkey rejected Washington's protection of the YPG and added that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies faced differences "at every step" in the safe zone talks.

Turkey hopes the buffer zone will keep Syrian Kurdish fighters away from its border.

The YPG has been a main U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria. Turkey considers the US -backed fighters terrorists.

"We are speaking about an ally who can not act independently from the terror organization", Cavusoglu said, referring to the U.S.

"Turkey's options are ready", Cavusoglu said. "To clear this region of terrorists is a matter of national security".

Deputy Commanders from U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) met with Turkish General Staff leaders in Ankara early this week to discuss key topics related to the implementation of the northeastern Syria security mechanism, USEUCOM said in a written statement. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says rifts remain in the way Turkey and the US envision the zone.

So far, the Kurdish-led forces have withdrawn as deep as 14 kilometres (9 miles) from the border and have removed defensive positions, sand berms and trenches. The depth of the zone, as very well as who will management it, is nonetheless getting labored out.



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