Turkey determined to end Syria 'safe zone' work with US if it stalls

Orient Net 2019-10-04 07:48:00

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Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told his US counterpart by phone on Thursday (October 3) that Ankara was determined to end its work with the United States on establishing a "safe zone" in northeast Syria if Washington stalled on the issue.

Akar told US Defense Secretary Mark Esper that Turkey sought the establishment of a "safe zone" some 30 km (19 miles) east of the Euphrates river and called on the United States to completely halt support for the People's Protection Units (YPG), the PKK’s affiliate in Syria, according to a statement by the National Defense Ministry.

Akar stressed during the phone call that Ankara not only wants to secure Turkey and its nation but also wants the security and protection of other religious and ethnic groups living in the region.

US and Turkish troops conducted their third joint ground patrol on Friday (October 4) within a planned safe zone in northern Syria, along the Syrian-Turkish border, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said. 

“Third land patrol within the planned safe zone started east of Euphrates River and Tal Abyad with the participation of the US and Turkish army personnel, land vehicles and UAVs,” the ministry said on Twitter.

Turkish military officials and their US counterparts previously discussed details of the planned safe zone, saying that both parties agreed on turning the area into a "peace corridor" and that measures would be taken to ensure the return of Syrians forced out of their country by violence.

Based on DS, AA