Turkey asks US to lift Syria ob­ser­va­tion posts

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - WORLD -

ANKARA: Turkey on Fri­day asked the US to scrap ob­ser­va­tion posts in north­ern Syria aimed at help­ing pre­vent clashes be­tween Turk­ish forces and a Kur­dish mili­tia backed by Wash­ing­ton.

De­fence Min­is­ter Hu­lusi Akar made the de­mand dur­ing a meet­ing with James Jef­frey, the US Spe­cial En­voy to Syria, his min­istry said in a state­ment.

US De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis had said that Wash­ing­ton wanted the ob­ser­va­tion posts to help min­imise ten­sions be­tween Turk­ish forces and Wash­ing­ton’s Kur­dish al­lies, in­clud­ing the Syr­ian Kur­dish YPG mili­tia which Ankara re­gards as a ‘ter­ror­ist off­shoot’ of the out­lawed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers’ Party (PKK).

Akar also asked Jef­frey to stop the Amer­i­can col­lab­o­ra­tion with the YPG.

Syria’s long-op­pressed Kur­dish mi­nor­ity has es­tab­lished a semi-au­ton­o­mous re­gion in the north of the coun­try, which has been wracked by con­flict since 2011.

Turkey re­fuses to recog­nise the ter­ri­tory on its bor­der, fear­ing it will stoke the sep­a­ratist am­bi­tions of Kurds in its own coun­try.

Ankara has car­ried out two op­er­a­tions against Kur­dish forces since 2016, the last against the bor­der en­clave of Afrin, which it seized in March and is now con­trolled by pro-Turk­ish Syr­ian rebels. — AFP

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