‘Efforts with US on safe zone to end if delay happens’


Turkish defense minister on Thursday warned that the efforts with the U.S. on establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria will end if distraction or delay takes place.

“We will continue negotiation and joint efforts [to establish a safe zone] as long as they meet our goals and objectives,” Hulusi Akar said in the capital Ankara.

Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said if the desired result on the zone is not achieved with the U.S. within two weeks, Turkey will start applying its own action plan.

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, over Turkey’s objections.

Turkey has accused the U.S. of dragging its feet and having a different concept for the safe zone.

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 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. 

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