US to work with Turkey on liberated areas in Syria
The U.S. will work with Turkey on the locals taking control of the liberated areas in Syria, Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis said on Saturday, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.
"We concur with Turkey on the need for locals taking control of the liberated areas, and we are going to work with Turkey on the locals taking control, and with Turkey on every other irritant, or diversion or distraction, or every area.
"We have many areas of absolute concurrence, too," Mattis told reporters en route to Washington, according to a DoD statement.
Mattis said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed on "significant" issues that the two countries would work through.
Tillerson on Thursday made a two-day working visit to the Turkish capital Ankara, where he met the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Cavusoglu to discuss several issues, including bilateral ties and regional developments, particularly Syria and Iraq.
Pushing the button to mend bilateral ties, Turkey and the U.S. reaffirmed their mutual and unequivocal commitment to each other’s security and to the preservation of Syria’s territorial integrity in a joint statement on Friday.
The two countries “agreed to establish a results-oriented mechanism,” which will be activated no later than mid-March.
Asked how this mechanism wouldwork in Syria's Afrin and Manbij, Mattis said there was a "commitment" to work them out.
"Yes, how would the mechanisms work, for example, in Afrin. That's exactly what we have to work out...We are going to put them in place," he said.
Relations between the two countries have been strained over U.S. support for the terrorist group PYD/YPG/PKK in northern Syria, which the U.S. has called a “reliable ally” in fighting Daesh.
In the joint statement, the two countries also reaffirmed their determination to jointly combat terrorism in all its forms: “Turkey and United States reiterate their resolve to fight against Daesh, PKK, Al-Qaeda and all other terror organizations and their extensions.”
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