Turkey ‘told US’ Kurdish militants must leave Syria – Defense Ministry

Turkey ‘told US’ Kurdish militants must leave Syria – Defense Ministry

Ankara told the US on Tuesday that Kurdish militants must completely abandon Syria, the Turkish Defense Ministry said. During talks in Ankara on Tuesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told US special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, that Turkey wanted Kurdish militants to fully abandon the region, the ministry said in a statement. It said Akar and Jeffrey also discussed recent developments in Syria and the minister conveyed Turkey’s discomfort with the presence of Kurdish militants in the region. Turkish and US forces are carrying out joint patrols in the northwestern Syrian city of Manbij as part of a roadmap to clear the area of YPG militants. Turkey has been infuriated with Washington’s support for the YPG militia, which Ankara sees as an extension of the insurgent Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Mike Pompeo discussed developments in Syria’s Idlib and Manbij in a phone call on Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing a Turkish diplomatic source.