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US-Kurdish Patrols in Northeast Syria Anger Turkey

US-Kurdish Patrols in Northeast Syria Anger Turkey

Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 - 07:00
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters)

Tensions emerged again on Tuesday between Washington and Ankara after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan charged that American forces have failed to commit to the “safe zone” agreement in northeastern Syria.

Erdogan said the US was still holding joint patrols with Kurdish forces there.

Despite Erdogan’s charges, the situation remained calm in Washington, which appeared to be still abiding by the implicit agreement reached between Erdogan and US President Donald Trump on northeastern Syria.

The US Defense Department did not answer Asharq Al-Awsat calls for comment on Erdogan’s remarks.

However, Barak Barfi, an expert on Turkish affairs at the New America think tank, said that no agreement was signed between Washington and Ankara concerning the US-Kurdish patrols in Syria.

“Trump had said US forces would remain to protect the oil. However, the presence of oil in this area is worthless,” Barfi said.

Meanwhile, Erdogan’s visit to Washington, scheduled for November 13, may be called off due to recent developments in the US.

Last week, US House of Representatives recognized the Armenian Genocide and passed a sanctions bill against Turkey, putting pressure on Ankara to reconsider the invitation for the trip.

On the other had, Kurkish representatives in Washington are not pleased with the US administration, which keeps delaying a meeting between high-ranking US officials and a delegation from the Syrian Democratic Council, headed by Ilham Ahmed.

Washington refuses to discuss the repercussions of its decision to withdraw US troops from the border area with Turkey.

Ahmed is expected to leave Washington to Europe where she is set to meet foreign ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS ahead of their extraordinary meeting on November 14 in Washington.

More than 30 nations are scheduled to meet next week to "look at the next steps to increase the coalition presence in northeast Syria.”

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