Turkey Says No Agreement on Syria Safe Zone With U.S.

Ankara says 'no patience left,' once again threatens military offensive on country's northeast if safe zone accord isn't found

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
A convoy of Turkish Army armoured personnel carriers led by a tank are driven toward the border with Syria, in the outskirts of Hassa, Turkey, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018.
Turkish Army tank, personnel carriers move toward the Syrian border, Jan. 23, 2018Credit: Ibrahim Mase/AP
Reuters
Reuters

New U.S. proposals for a safe zone in north Syria do not satisfy Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, adding that an agreement on the issue needs to be reached as soon as possible because Ankara has no patience left.

Turkey has been infuriated by U.S. support for the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. The NATO allies have agreed to create a safe zone in northern Syria following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the area, which Turkey wants to be cleared of YPG militants.

The YPG, which spearheads the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, has been the main U.S. ally on the ground in Syria during Washington’s fight against Islamic State.

>> Read more: Turkey and Russian S-400s: Erdogan just made a strategic blunder of epic proportionsTrump abandons Syria's Kurds: Will Turkey now crush their dream of a 'secular utopia?'

The U.S. special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey was in Ankara this week for talks on the details of the safe zone.

At a news conference in Ankara on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said that the two allies had failed to agree on how deep the safe zone would be, who would control it and whether the YPG would be completely removed from the area.

“We got the impression that they want to enter a stalling process here as in Manbij,” Cavusoglu said, referring to a roadmap agreed last year to clear a northern Syrian town of YPG fighters. “We need to reach an agreement regarding the safe zone as soon as possible because we have no patience left.”

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu walk back after meeting journalists at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, November 20, 2018. Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais,AP

Cavusoglu also said that U.S. military officials meeting with a YPG leader on Monday - the same day as Jeffrey’s talks at the foreign ministry - indicated Washington was not sincere.

He said on Monday that if the safe zone in northern Syria is not established, and if threats continue against Turkey, Ankara would launch a military operation east of the Euphrates river, a move that Ankara has threatened in the past.

Ankara is also working with Russia and Iran, allies of the Syrian government, to establish a constitutional committee - a long-awaited step in stalled effort to resolve the country’s civil war.

Asked about the details of a recent phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Cavusoglu said the establishment of the constitutional committee could be announced in the coming days.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them