Rex Tillerson says U.S. and Turkey have 'same goals' in Syria


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (C-R) meets with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (C-L) at Ankara Palas in Ankara, Turkey on February 16, 2018.

"We're going to act together from this point forward".

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on global law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

Tensions surged when the Turks threatened to move toward Manbij, raising the possibility of a clash between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies - Turkish troops on one hand and on the other, USA troops and the Kurds.

Turkey has detained some USA citizens, including a pastor, as well as some Turkish staff working for the US consulate, over suspected links to a 2016 failed coup.

During his two-day trip to Turkey, Tillerson will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and with Erdogan.

Erdogan this month upped the ante by warning U.S. troops to leave Manbij, a YPG-held town east of Afrin, raising fears of a clash between the allies.

The report, which mentioned that the "YPG is an extension of the PKK in Syria", also stated that the terrorist organization is seeking to establish an autonomous structure in Syria.

The U.S. considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters the most effective fighting force in the battle to defeat IS in Syria.

The top Turkish diplomat added that the two sides will hold another meeting by mid-March as part of the mechanisms. Erdogan has threatened to attack the town. "We reached an agreement and an understanding", Tillerson said.

Rex Tillerson says U.S. and Turkey have 'same goals' in Syria
Rex Tillerson says U.S. and Turkey have 'same goals' in Syria

Turkey's defense minister, Nurettin Canikli, said in Brussels that he has asked that the US end its assistance to Kurdish fighters and remove them from the Syria Democratic Forces.

Cavusoglu said the YPG must leave Manbij.

The U.S. had warned Turkey against such move which it said could lead to confrontation between Turkish and U.S. troops.

The public statements were notable for their "softened rhetoric", QNB Finansbank chief economist Gokce Celik said in an email Friday.

"In the talks, Turkey's priorities and expectations on all these topics were clearly conveyed to the U.S. secretary of state", said a source, asking not to be named.

Other sources of conflict have been a recent defense deal struck between Turkey and Russian Federation over the purchase of an S-400 anti-missile system The deal has raised concerns by the West over deepening ties, as well as Russia's integration into NATO's military architecture.

The Syria chapter of his official "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community " presented by Coats explicitly defined the YPG as the terrorist "PKK's militia force in Syria". "We're going to work through the issues that are causing difficulties for us and we're going to resolve them".

There was no immediate comment from the Turkish military, which has previously denied accusations of hitting civilians in its Afrin operation.

Both Tillerson and Cavusoglu that the countries have found themselves at "a crisis point", and have agreed to address "critical issues" in the bilateral relations. "We remain open and anxious to receive any new evidence".

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