TURKEY

Turkish defense chief meets US Syria envoy

AA Photo

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Friday received the U.S. Syria envoy, James Jeffrey, and the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, said the National Defense Ministry.

A meeting was held in the capital Ankara between Turkish and U.S. delegations headed by Deputy Defense Minister Yunus Emre Karaosmanoğlu and Jeffrey, said a ministry statement.

"During the meeting, issues regarding the agreement signed with the U.S. on Oct. 17, 2019 were discussed" -- a deal having to do with Turkey's anti-terrorist operation in northern Syria launched on Oct. 9 -- the statement said.

At the end of the delegations' meeting, Akar received Jeffrey and Satterfield, it added.

On Oct. 17, during a working visit to Ankara by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Turkey and the U.S. reached a 13-point agreement on northeastern Syria.

Under the deal, Turkey paused its anti-terror push east of the Euphrates River for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of the terrorist YPG/PKK from a planned safe zone in northern Syria.

The sides also agreed on a 32-kilometers (20-miles) safe zone south of the Turkish border in Syria, where Turkey wants to accommodate Syrian refugees it is currently hosting.

Later, on Oct. 22, Turkey and Russia reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists would pull back 30 km (18.6 mi) south of Turkey's border with Syria, and security forces from Turkey and Russia would mount joint patrols there.

Turkish officials have complained that YPG/PKK terrorists kept attacking Turkish forces and its allies during the 120-hour pause agreed to with the U.S., and also that despite the deal with Russia, the YPG/PKK terrorists failed to withdraw.

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. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian branch.

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