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US, Turkey working on safe zone where no YPG exists - James Jeffrey

  • 15 Apr 2019

The US special envoy to Syria has stressed Washington and Ankara have strong relations and they are geostrategic partners.

James Jeffrey currently serves as the United States special representative for Syria engagement and the special envoy for the global coalition to defeat Daesh. ( AA )

Washington will work with Ankara to ensure the YPG/PKK terrorist group does not create a threat to Turkey in the establishment of a safe zone in Syria next to the Turkish border, the US special envoy to Syria said Monday.

James Jeffrey said Washington acknowledges the security concerns Turkey has with the withdrawal of American troops first announced in December by US President Donald Trump.

The special envoy made a similar statement last month with the establishment of a safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border, where YPG militia, the Syrian affiliate of PKK terror group, would be withdrawn from so that they do not pose a security risk to Turkey.

"And we would work with Turkey to ensure that that zone remains free of any threat to Turkey and introduces stability," Jeffrey said at a conference on American-Turkish relations in Washington.

The US allied itself with the YPG/PKK to fight Daesh in Syria but Turkey argued that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

Turkey also does not want former US bases to fall into the hands of terrorists after the withdrawal, saying they should either be destroyed or handed over to the Turkish army.

Since Washington declared the pullout of American troops, Turkey has been warning of the power vacuum it could create in the region.

"The United States also has its own security concerns, including with the people that we fought with against Daesh, and working us a way forward is something that we're very intensively doing right now," Jeffrey said.

"We have a very strong partner in Turkey in this conflict," he added.

The PKK — listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people.

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