24 May 2019

Turkey-US working group on Syria 'on hold'

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The Turkey-U.S. working group meeting on Syria's Manbij will be on hold until the new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo takes office, according to a diplomatic source. reports citing AA.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during his last visit to Turkey on Feb. 19 that Ankara and Washington had reached an understanding on Syria.

The first working group was held on March 8, in which the main principles of potential cooperation of Turkey and the U.S. was termed "constructive", the source, who spoke anonymously due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.

"A constructive exercise has begun between the two countries. We will wait until the new U.S. secretary of state takes his office and the U.S. administration settles down after Tillerson is removed from office," the source said.

The source added the Turkey-U.S. working group may be held in May.

"The working groups on other issues may convene earlier. There is not a fixed date," the source said.

About Turkey's eight observatory points in Syria's Idlib set up as part of Astana peace talks, the source said other guarantor countries -- Russia and Iran -- had set up similar observation points at areas not as critical as Turkey's.

It is Turkey which entered between the armed opposition groups, anti-regime armed groups in Idlib and Bashar al-Assad regime forces, the source said, adding that Russia and Iran only aim to observe the regime forces.

Rouhani's statement on Afrin

About Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's statement during closed-door tripartite summit in Ankara that Afrin should be handed over to the Syrian army, the source said Iran understands Turkey's efforts to provide national security.

Turkey and Iran have agreed to support Syria's territorial integrity and reject divisive discourses in the country, the source said.

Iran supports a political solution in line with Syrian regime's expectations and want to maximize the legitimacy of it, it added.

"We can say that it is a discourse adapted to observe the Syrian regime's sensitivities."

The source added Turkey and Russia came to a mutual understanding on stance against YPG/PKK, "although they do not totally agree on Syria," the source added.

Russia opened the aerial space in Afrin for Turkey during Operation Olive Branch and YPG/PKK were not invited to National Dialogue Congress on Syria in Russian city of Sochi on Jan. 30, the source said, noting that these are evidence for Russia's support for Turkey.

2018.04.06 / 21:18
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