Syria: Turkey, US Hold Joint Ground Patrol in Northern Syrian 'Safe Zone'

Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin holds a press conference in Ankara Turkey on 21 September 2018

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Washington was too strongly involved with USA -allied Syrian Kurdish fighters and was stalling on plans for the safe zone.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have agreed to create a security zone in northeastern Syria along Turkey's southern border and to clear the area from Syrian Kurdish fighters.

"The US and Turkey have launched ground patrols in northern Syria, but all other US actions are just superficial in nature", Cavusoglu added, Trend reports referring to the Turkish media on September 10.

His comments came after President Tayyip Erdogan said at the weekend that Turkey rejected Washington's protection of the YPG and added that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies faced differences "at every step" in the safe zone talks. Ankara considers the fighters terrorists, claiming they are linked to a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey's borders.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organisation. USA troops on Saturday also conducted patrols with the local Syrian Kurdish-led forces, which annoyed Turkey.

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The U.S. military delegation, headed by Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Twitty, Deputy Commander of U.S European Command and Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Bergeson, Deputy Commander of U.S. Central Command, will visit the headquarters of the General Staff on Tuesday, said the statement.

"Turkey's options are ready", Cavusoglu said. -Turkish tensions as Ankara is attempting to increase its influence in the ongoing Syrian civil war and prevent its border region from becoming a stronghold for Kurdish militia forces.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Sunday rifts stay in the way Turkey and the USA imagine the zone, boasting Washington was "making an attempt to create a secure zone for the terrorist corporation, not for us".

In northwestern Syria's Idlib, where Turkey has troops and where Ankara in 2017 agreed with Moscow and Tehran to reduce fighting, months of renewed conflict intensified in recent weeks and raised prospects of another wave of refugees to Turkey. The depth of the zone, as well as who will control it, is still being worked out.

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