Turkey blames US for stalling Syria safe zone with 'cosmetic steps'

ISTANBUL (dpa)- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday in Ankara that the United States is stalling the creation of a planned safe zone in north-eastern Syria.
"There are joint patrols right now. However, steps beyond this are only cosmetic steps," Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara, adding Washington's approach to the safe zone deal is "very far from satisfactory."

Cavusoglu's comments came hours after US military officials arrived in Ankara for talks over the planned zone, according to the Turkish Defence Ministry.
Turkey and the United States began joint patrols for the first time on Sunday as part of a deal last month to establish a safe zone near the border with Syria. Questions still linger on how deep it would be and who would control it.
On Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey and the US had different ideas about the so-called zone, warning Turkey will go its own way unless the zone is created by the end of this month.
Erdogan earlier said Turkish troops should control an area about 40 kilometres-deep and remove the main Kurdish militia YPG, which has been a key US ally in fighting Islamic State. Turkey considers the YPG as terrorists.
Turkey will "enter the region and cleanse it just as [Turkey] cleansed Daesh and PKK with Afrin and Euphrates Shield (operations)," Cavusoglu said, referring to two previous operations against the Islamic State and a banned Kurdish insurgent group.
Erdogan is expected to meet US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the upcoming UN General Assembly.

Tuesday, September 10th 2019

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