Turkey’s Erdogan to meet Trump in US over Syria ‘safe zone’

ANKARA Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and

US counterpart Donald Trump agreed during a phone call to meet in Washington

next month to discuss creating a safe zone in northern Syria, the Turkish

presidency said Sunday.

Erdogan told Trump of his frustration over the US military and security

bureaucracy's failure to implement the deal agreed in August to establish a

buffer zone on the Turkish border, the presidency said in a statement.

It added that the visit would take place after an invitation from Trump.

There had been expectations in Turkey of a Trump-Erdogan meeting on Syria

last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, but it did not take

place.

The Turkish leader had raised the temperature on Saturday by warning that

Ankara could launch a cross-border offensive as soon as today, tomorrow,

putting pressure on the United States.

Turkish state media also reported on military reinforcements sent to the

border with Syria after Erdogan's comments.

Washington has sought to stop any Turkish operation against a US-backed

Syrian Kurdish militia viewed by Ankara as a terrorist offshoot of Kurdish

militants in Turkey.

The US worked closely with the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia

against the Islamic State (IS) group, capturing swathes of territory from the

jihadists.

After difficult US-Turkey talks ended with the August agreement, Turkish

and American forces held joint ground and air patrols in northern Syria.

However, Turkey accused the US of stalling over the establishment of the

safe zone.

The two leaders discussed the safe zone during the call in which Erdogan

told Trump it would create the necessary conditions for Syrian refugees to

return to Syria.

Turkey is hosting over 3.6 million Syrian refugees but there has been a

growing public backlash in recent months against their presence in Turkey.

With some Western capitals concerned over any unilateral Turkish

operation's impact on the fight against IS jihadists, Erdogan insisted Turkey

would take the necessary precautions to ensure there was no extremist

resurgence in the region.

Turkey twice launched military operations against IS in 2016 and the YPG in

2018, supporting Syrian rebels to take territory in northern Syria.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)