US President Barack Obama will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the start of the G20 summit in China to discuss the fight against DAESH in Syria, the White House announced on Monday.
Obama’s deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters that the two leaders will also discuss the situation in Turkey after the coup attempt — as well as the refugee crisis.
“President Obama will want to discuss, obviously, the circumstances in Turkey since the attempted coup, as well as our counter-ISIL [DAESH] campaign, and our efforts to promote greater stability in Syria and response to the refugee crisis,” Rhodes said.
The meeting is the first between the two leaders to take place after the attempted coup in July.
The US has expressed concern about Turkish strikes in Syria against the US-backed YPG, which is the armed wing of the PYD, urging Turkey to focus on efforts to curtail DAESH.
Secretary of Defence Ash Carter called the strikes "unacceptable".
The YPG is an affiliate of the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US, EU and NATO.
"We have called upon Turkey to stay focused on the fight against ISIL [DAESH] and not to engage Syrian Defence Forces, and we've had a number of contacts over the last several days," Carter told reporters.
Ankara considers the PYD a terrorist group, though the US administration regards the group as the most effective ally on the ground in the fight against DAESH.
The US has officially supported the Turkish-backed operation in northern Syria which could imply that the allies might have reached an understanding in the ongoing operation.
Obama is the second high-ranking US official to meet with Turkish leaders.
Last week, US Vice President Joe Biden visited Turkey’s capital Ankara.
Turkey, is still waiting for the US’s response on the issue of extraditing Turkish cult leader Fethullah Gulen who Turkey accuses of orchestrating the failed coup attempt.
The US has requested tangible evidence on Gulen’s involvement.
During his visit to China, Obama plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and is expected to interact with Russian President Vladimir Putin although there is no scheduled meeting between the two.
According to the White House’s announcement, Obama will also travel to Laos next week where he will meet with Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte has raised concerns after more than 2,000 people have been killed since he took office in his war against crime.