Syria rejects Turkey-US talks on buffer zone

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Fri, 26 Jul 2019 - 03:17 GMT

Fighters of Jaysh al-Izza, a formerly US-backed Syrian rebel group active in northern Hama province and parts of Idlib (AFP)

Fighters of Jaysh al-Izza, a formerly US-backed Syrian rebel group active in northern Hama province and parts of Idlib (AFP)

CAIRO – 26 July 2019: Turkey is determined to destroy the “terror corridor” east of the Euphrates river in Syria regardless of how talks conclude with the United States on a planned safe zone in the country’s north, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, despite of facts and reports proving Turkey's involvement in supplying arms and fighters to militias in Syria.

Turkey has ramped up its warnings of a possible incursion into northern Syria in recent days, saying it had run “out of patience” with Washington over the safe zone talks and adding that it would launch its operation if an agreement was not reached.

“Those who put their trust in foreign powers in the region will be put under ground,” Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party. “We will find a lasting solution to terror.”

Meanwhile, Damascus said Friday it would reject any agreement between Turkey and the US to establish a "security zone" in northern Syria as tantamount to a violation of the country's sovereignty.

"Syria reiterates its categorical rejection of any American-Turkish agreement," a foreign ministry source told state news agency SANA.

Such a deal would "constitute a blatant attack on the sovereignty and unity of the country", the source added. Turkey and the US began talks on Tuesday to establish a "security zone" in northern Syria aimed at creating a buffer between Kurdish fighters and the Turkish border.

The idea was first mooted by US President Donald Trump in January, in a call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at a moment when Turkey was threatening to launch an offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria.

But Turkey said Wednesday it was not satisfied with the buffer zone solutions offered by the US. "The latest US proposals are not satisfactory," said Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"We should say things clearly: we have the impression that (the United States) is trying to buy time," he added. The US has provided extensive support to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in Syria.

The YPG has led the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, but Ankara sees it as a terrorist offshoot of Kurdish militants inside Turkey.

Turkey has launched two previous offensives into Syria against IS and the YPG, in 2016 and 2018.

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