Top military brass assesses potential Turkish op into eastern Syria

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Turkey’s top military brass and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held a security meeting on July 25 and discussed a potential military operation into northeastern Syria, immediately after three-day long talks with a senior American delegation over setting up a safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border.

The Anadolu Agency reported that the meeting has taken place under the leadership of Minister Akar and with the participation of Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler as well as commanders of land, naval and air forces.

It said the meeting was focused on Turkish-American talks on the safe zone and Turkey’s potential unilateral military operation into the eastern Euphrates in a bid to end the presence of the YPG along the border.

James Jeffrey, the special Syrian envoy of the U.S., held meetings with Minister Akar, Presidential Chief Foreign Policy Advisor İbrahim Kalın and Vice Foreign Minister Sedat Önal between July 22 and 24. The talks were concentrated on the details of the safe zone, an idea which has been brought back to the agenda by President Donald Trump in mid-January 2019.

The fresh ideas on the modalities of the safe zone tabled by Jeffrey did not satisfy Turkey.

“We have conveyed them all our views and proposals. We are waiting an immediate reply from them,” Akar was quoted as saying by the Anadolu Agency on July 25.

“We have once again underlined that we have no tolerance to any delay and that we’ll take our action when necessary.”

Turkey and U.S. differ about the size of the safe zone and by whom it will be controlled. Turkey says it should control the area while the U.S. seeks a limited and temporary presence of the Turkish troops within the enclave.

Hurriyet Daily News

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