Turkish, US military chiefs discuss Syria safe zone


Turkey’s chief of general staff and his U.S. counterpart discussed a safe zone in Syria along Turkey’s border on the sidelines of a NATO conference in Slovenia, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Saturday. 

Yasar Guler and Joseph Dunford held a bilateral meeting in capital Ljubljana where a two-day NATO Military Committee Conference is being held until Sept. 15, the ministry said in a statement.

The Turkish military chief shared Turkey’s expectations about the safe zone east of Euphrates in Syria, a recent hot topic between the U.S. and Turkey.

Ankara attaches importance to the safe zone in terms of its fight against YPG/PKK terror groups.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.

The agreement also envisaged setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey’s security concerns, including clearing the zone of the terrorist YPG/PKK, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with, despite Turkey’s objections.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is the group’s Syrian branch.

Guler and Dunford also discussed some NATO security issues, the ministry added.

Writing by Sibel Ugurlu
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