Turkey has not agreed with US on Syria safe zone: foreign minister

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters run after firing from behind sandbags during a military exercise near Al-Rai in the north of Aleppo province along the border with Turkey on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 24 July 2019

Turkey has not agreed with US on Syria safe zone: foreign minister

  • Turkey has been infuriated by US support for the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization
  • NATO allies have agreed to create a safe zone in northern Syria following the withdrawal of US forces from the area

ANKARA: New US proposals for a safe zone in north Syria do not satisfy Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday, adding that an agreement on the issue needs to reached as soon as possible because Ankara has no patience left.
Turkey has been infuriated by US support for the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. The NATO allies have agreed to create a safe zone in northern Syria following the withdrawal of US forces from the area, which Turkey wants to be cleared of YPG militants.
The YPG, which spearheads the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, has been the main US ally on the ground in Syria during Washington’s fight against Islamic State.
The US special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey was in Ankara this week for talks on the details of the safe zone.
At a news conference in Ankara on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said that the two allies had failed to agree on how deep the safe zone would be, who would control it and whether the YPG would be completely removed from the area.
“We got the impression that they want to enter a stalling process here as in Manbij,” Cavusoglu said, referring to a roadmap agreed last year to clear a northern Syrian town of YPG fighters. “We need to reach an agreement regarding the safe zone as soon as possible because have no patience left.”
Cavusoglu also said that US military officials meeting with a YPG leader on Monday — the same day as Jeffrey’s talks at the foreign ministry — indicated Washington was not sincere.
He said on Monday that if the safe zone in northern Syria is not established, and if threats continue against Turkey, Ankara would launch a military operation east of the Euphrates river, a move that Ankara has threatened in the past.
Ankara is also working with Russia and Iran, allies of the Syrian government, to establish a constitutional committee — a long-awaited step in stalled effort to resolve the country’s civil war.
Asked about the details of a recent phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Cavusoglu said the establishment of the constitutional committee could be announced in the coming days.


Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies aged 91

Updated 8 min 25 sec ago

Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies aged 91

  • ‘With deep sadness and sorrow the Emiri Diwan sends its condolences to the people of Kuwait’
  • Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait from 2006

RIYADH: The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, has died aged 91.

Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait since 2006.

His death was announced by the Emiri Diwan.

"With deep sadness and sorrow the Emiri Diwan sends its condolences to the people of Kuwait, the Arab and Muslim nations, and our friendly nations worldwide," Royal Court Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al Sabah said on state TV.

Sheikh Sabah was admitted to hospital in July and underwent surgery, before traveling to the US for further treatment.

His death brought an ourtpouring of grief and condolences from both the Gulf, the region and beyond.

He served as Kuwait’s foreign minister from 1963 for four decades after holding a number of other governmental posts. He then became prime minister in 2003.