ISTANBUL: US Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday that the US and Turkey were prepared for a military solution against Daesh in Syria should the Syrian government and rebels fail to reach a political settlement.
The latest round of Syria peace talks are planned to begin on Monday in Geneva but were at risk of being delayed partly because of a dispute over who will comprise the opposition delegation.
Syrian armed rebel groups said on Saturday they held the Syrian government and Russia responsible for any failure of peace talks to end the country’s civil war, even before negotiations were due to start.
“We do know it would better if we can reach a political solution but we are prepared ..., if that’s not possible, to have a military solution to this operation in taking out Daesh,” Biden said at a news conference after a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
A US official later clarified that Biden was talking about a military solution to Daesh, not Syria as a whole.
Biden said he and Davutoglu also discussed how the two NATO allies could further support Sunni Arab rebel forces fighting to oust President Bashar Assad.
Saleh Muslim, co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Kurdish political grouping in Syria, said on Friday the Syria peace talks would fail if Syrian Kurds are not represented.
Davutoglu said on Saturday the PYD’s military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) had become an increasing threat to Turkey. According to local media, on the way to Turkey from Davos, he also told reporters Ankara would strike YPG in northern Syria just like it hits PKK targets in northern Iraq.
Biden strongly criticized the PKK. Davutoglu also reiterated the Turkey’s respect for the territorial unity of Iraq, where it deployed troops despite Baghdad’s objections.