Turkey , US to work together in Syria occupation : Cavusoglu , Tillerson
Ankara and Washington have reached an agreement to work together in their occupation of Syria, where the two NATO allies have been on a collision course over the US’s support for the Kurdish militants operating at Turkish doorstep.
Speaking at a joint press conference following a meeting in Ankara, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said Washington and Ankara would establish working groups to resolve the issues that have sparked tensions in ties between the two sides.
“We are not going to act alone any longer, not US doing one thing, Turkey doing another,” Tillerson said after the talks.
“We will work together… we have good mechanisms on how we can achieve this, there is a lot of work to be done,” he added without elaborating.
The top US diplomat also urged Ankara to “show restraint” in its so-called Operation Olive Branch against the US-backed militants in the northern Syria district of Afrin, stressing that the two sides “share the same objectives” in the Arab state.
The Turkish foreign minister, in turn, said the two sides agreed on the need to normalize their ties.
He said that ties were at a “critical phase,” pledging to create “mechanisms” to hold talks on the problematic issues.
Reports earlier Friday suggested that Turkey had proposed that Turkish and US forces station together in Syria’s Manbij region.
An unnamed Turkish official said that Ankara had made the proposal during Tillerson’s visit and that Washington was considering the issue, Reuters reported.
Observers said Tillerson would have have tough discussions with Turkish officials over the ongoing Turkish military operation in north of Syria. He met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.
Turkey started the campaign last month in a bid to force Kurdish militia out of the city of Afrin after the US said it would set up a 30,000-force Kurdish force near Turkish border.
Turkish officials have vowed that after Afrin, they would move some 100 kilometes (60 miles) eastward to capture Manbij and force the Kurdsh to retreat to the eastern banks of the Euphrates.