Terrorist Army on Syrian Border to Cause Damage to Ties With US - Ankara
12:16 18.01.2018(updated 16:28 18.01.2018)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has commented on Ankara-Washington ties amid the scandal around US support for Kurdish militants.
"The United States told us that it records every weapon item they send to Syria, and that after the end of the operation in Raqqa all the weapons would be taken back. It is not like this in reality. They also did not fulfill their promise on Manbij [on YPG's withdrawal]. We convey our concerns and discontent on a number of issues to the United States… our distrust remains," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the CNN Turk broadcaster.
The minister has explained that, despite Ankara's expectation's to see concrete steps from the US, Washington has failed to keep promises on Manbij and Raqqa, thus bolstering Turkey's mistrust towards the country.
The minister has specified that after anti-Daesh operation in Raqqa, the US promised to end their partnership with Kurdish forces, including their arms supplies to the YPD and to return all the weapons provided. However, Washington's had already failed to keep its promise in Manbij, he noted.
The statement was made despite US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's January 17 assurance, that the US's support for Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) has been "misportrayed, misdescribed".
Cavusoglu stated that Turkey would intervene in Syria's Afrin and Manbij, due to the threat posed by the Kurdish militants to the integrity of the Syrian border.
The minister went on to say that the advance of Syrian government forces in Idlib should be stopped.
The diplomat has stated that Turkey coordinates its operation in Afrin with Russia and Iran, countries-guarantors of the Syria's peace settlement, adding that Ankara didn't see a reason for Moscow to oppose the operation.
"We and Russia are the guarantor states, and we coordinate even if we have certain disagreements. We work together, including on the intervention in Afrin," Cavusoglu told CNN Turk.
The statement was made in wake of the Russia's General Staff's statement earlier in the day, regarding the expected meeting between Chief of the Turkish General Staff Hulusi Akar, head of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan and Chief of Russia's General Staff Valery Gerasimov, set to take place on January 18.
"The sides will discuss problems of regional security, the latest developments in Syria, and exchange views on the process of the Syrian settlement in Astana and Geneva," the statement said.
Cavusoglu's words echo his January 17 statement on the issue, saying that the cities of Manbij and Raqqa were not governed by local councils after being liberated from the Daesh terrorist group, but rather came under the control of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). As the minister has explained, though the US had not announced PYD as a strategic partner in the anti-terror fight, this gives Ankara the ground to be skeptical about Washington's moves in the area.
Turkey has been threatening to start a military operation against the Syrian Kurds, which they consider being a terrorist group, in Afrin after the US announced its decision to start training a border protection force composed of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces(SDF), which mostly consists of the YPG, in northern Syria.
As the US-led coalition Inherent Resolve's Col. Thomas Veale explained the move, the coalition wants to create a 30,000-strong force to maintain security along Syria's borders, prompting harsh condemnation from Damascus and Ankara.
There were also some circulating media reports, claiming that the Turkish army shelled territory under control of the Kurdish forces in Afrin. However, the information has not been confirmed.
These reports, however, correlate to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's threats to remove the US-trained Kurdish troops from the vicinity of the Turkish southern border.
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