"We're working with Turkey to have a safe zone along the Turkish border," Syria envoy Jame Jeffery says.
The US Special Representative for Syria Engagement on Monday said Washington is working with Turkey on "a safe zone of some length along the Turkish border," saying the zone would have no YPG/PKK presence.
"We’re looking for a solution that would meet everyone’s needs," James Jeffrey, who also serves as the special envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition, said at a news conference at the US Department of State.
"What we’re working with Turkey to have a safe zone of some length along the Turkish border where there would be no YPG forces because Turkey feels very nervous about the YPG and their ties to the PKK."
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump said Daesh had been eliminated from Syria. The battle to rout the terror group from the village of Baghouz, its last enclave in Syria, was undertaken by the US-backed PYD/YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia.
The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organisation. In its 30-year terror campaign against the Turkish state more than 40,000 people, including women and children, have been killed.
Turkey, the US and the EU recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation.
"We understand President [Donald] Trump has made that clear to President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan," he said.
The envoy said, however, the ultimate goal of the US in Syria was the defeat of the Daesh terrorist group.
"The mission is to defeat ISIS, not to operate in any safe zone," Jeffrey added, using another name for Daesh.
Humanitarian, reconstruction and stability
The US is working the immediate situation the humanitarian, reconstruction and stability issues in the area after defeating Daesh.
He mentioned that Daesh had between "35,000 and 100,000 fighters" that they are all in prison or dead or fled.
"Right now the focus is on getting countries to take back their own foreign terrorist fighters."
He also told that a large percent of the total captured by the SDF are Iraqis or Syrian.
"There is a process underway to get those people back to Iraq and back to their Syrian communities for deradicalization and reintegration or in some cases punishment, and we’re focused on that as our first priority."
The US still does not know the whereabouts of the Daesh leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, Jeffery said.
Baghdadi's whereabouts and status have been a mystery over the past few years, and multiple claims have been made that he has been killed on various battlefields in Iraq and Syria.
"No, we don’t know where [Baghdadi] is and finding the top leadership of ISIS or other terrorist groups is always a priority," said Jeffrey.