Turkey's Foreign Minster Mevlut Cavusoglu says officials will gather in Washington early next month to coordinate the withdrawal of US soldiers from Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey has postponed its military operation in Syria to avoid
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey has postponed its military operation in Syria to avoid "friendly fire." (Reuters)

Officials from Turkey and the United States are meeting on January 8 in Washington to hammer out details about the withdrawal of American soldiers from Syria, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.  

His statement coincides with Ankara's decision to delay its anti-terror operation east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria. 

In a televised interview with TRT, Cavusoglu said postponement  of the operation did not mean a change in Turkey's commitment to take action against the terrorists. 

But a delay was a ‘logical’ move to prevent 'friendly fire' in the region, he said. 

“It doesn’t mean that we have given up on our determination to launch operation against the YPG in future,” Cavusoglu said. 

The US President Donald Trump announced his military's withdrawal from Syria, after a discussion withTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call.

“We give great importance to territorial integrity of Syria. We won’t back any activity that splits Syria and we will even stand against it,” he added.

Stating that the region needed stability at the earliest, he noted that it was not possible unless the YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists are cleared out. 

Cavusoglu added that Turkey made considerable progress in fight against Daesh both in Iraq and Syria, and said that Turkish soldiers were the only ones who had close fights with the terror group.

“No country alone has neutralised over 4,000 Daesh terrorists like we [Turkey] did,” he noted.

On Wednesday, Trump ordered all of the US forces to withdraw from Syria, saying Daesh's defeat was his sole reason for being in the country torn by a seven-year long civil war. 

The US began its air campaign in Syria in 2014 and deployed troops on the ground to assist in fight against Daesh a year later.

Reports have suggested that US forces will leave in next 60 to 100 days.

This comes on the eve of a possible Turkish military operation in northeastern parts of Syria against the YPG/PKK terrorist group.

Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two similar military operations in Syria.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies