No US forces in Syria safe zone enforcement: Esper


The U.S. said no troops will be on the ground to implement a safe zone in northeastern Syria where Turkey seeks to ensure an area for the return of refugees.

“No U.S. ground forces will participate in the enforcement of this safe zone, however, we will remain in communication with both Turkey and the YPG,” said U.S. defense chief Mark Esper in a press conference.

His remarks came a day after Turkey agreed with the U.S. to pause its cross-border operation in the northeastern Syria to repel PKK/YPG terrorists and form a safe zone.

Ankara suspended the Operation Peace Spring for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone, 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of the Turkish border.

Upon completion of the terror group’s withdrawal, Turkey says it will enact a permanent cease-fire.

Esper said he is looking forward to meeting his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, next week in Brussels to “reinforce the importance of ensuring a lasting political solution to the situation in Syria.”

On Oct. 9, Turkey had launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story 
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