The United States supports Turkey and its “legitimate interests in Idlib”, said James Jeffrey, the U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on Turkish News channel NTV.
“We discussed NATO’s alliance with Turkey. We agree with you regarding the legal situation in Idlib. We support the presence and legitimate interests of Turkey in Idlib.” Jeffrey also argued that Ankara and Washington have a common geostrategic aims in Syria and Libya, where coordination and the sharing of information is very important.
Jeffrey said Turkish soldiers have the right to defend themselves in Idlib, and that the U.S. understands Turkey’s need to respond to opposition forces. “As a NATO ally, we are exploring how we can help. There should be shared intelligence over this, and equipment transfer is also of utmost importance. These continue to work well. We need to be more certain that our diplomatic approach is coordinated, because our powers are also present here.” according to the transcript provided by NTV news channel.
“We want to find a diplomatic solution to this along with many countries. However, our issue today is Idlib.”
Turkish and Turkey backed Syrian forces have been clashing Russian and Iranian backed Syrian forces in Idlib. Turkey lost 13 soldiers in one week but Turkish President said earlier on Wednesday that if another Turkish soldier is hurt, Turkey would target any aircraft in Idlib’s airspace.
Jeffrey said that Islamic State (ISIS) is still a major threat. Apart from Turkey, no other country except Iraq and Syria has seen harm from ISIS referring to attacks in Ankara as well as other border cities. Jeffrey stressed, “We will continue to fight ISIS. Our goal is to eliminate ISIS.”
Jeffrey added that the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria withdrew from the Operation Spring Peace region, which may coincide with interests of Russia. He added that the U.S. and Turkey have common geostrategic goals in Syria and Libya.
“Turkey cannot alone fight humanitarian disaster, and that Russia and Assad are responsible for the confusion in Syria.”
Jeffrey said he thinks that there won’t be a war in the region, and that Turkey, USA, Israel and Russia will be very careful.