Ankara won’t tolerate US delay over Syria safe zone: Turkey’s foreign minister

Above, a resident walks in Ras Al-Ain in Syria’s Hasakeh province near the Turkish border. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2019
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Ankara won’t tolerate US delay over Syria safe zone: Turkey’s foreign minister

  • The goal of the zone is to create a buffer between the Turkish border and areas controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units
  • Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch an assault east of the Euphrates river against the Kurds

ANKARA: Ankara will not tolerate any delay from the US over setting up a safe zone in northern Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Thursday.
“They (the US) first need to be sincere and need to understand that Turkey won’t tolerate delaying tactics,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a press conference in Ankara.
His comments come as an American military delegation headed by Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, deputy commander of the US European Command, was expected in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa.
He will supervise the establishment of the joint operations center as part of the effort to organize a “safe zone” in northern Syria, the Turkish defense ministry.
The Pentagon on Wednesday said the agreement would be “implemented in stages.”
The goal of the zone is to create a buffer between the Turkish border and areas controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch an assault east of the Euphrates river against the YPG, which it says is a “terrorist” offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.
But Washington has worked closely with the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.
Little is known about the size of the safe zone and how it will work, but Cavusoglu said there would be observation posts and joint patrols.
He said US President Donald Trump had previously promised it would be 32-kilometer (20 mile) wide.
Turkey previously conducted two offensives into Syria, against Daesh and the YPG, in 2016 and 2018.


Iran commemorates war with parade of tanks, missiles

Updated 18 min 22 sec ago

Iran commemorates war with parade of tanks, missiles

  • Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of a Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on oil facilities

JEDDAH: As Saudi Arabia prepared to celebrate its National Day with entertainment events, firework displays and cultural events, Iran staged a military parade in Tehran on Sunday with tanks, missiles and armored vehicles.

President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian military leaders saluted as ranks of soldiers marched past them in tight unison, followed by an array of military hardware.

Among the weapons on display in the parade, held to mark the anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, was an upgraded warhead for the Khorramshahr ballistic missile, said to have a range of 2,000km, and the Kaman 12 drone with a range of 1,000km. Speedboats and warships were shown in video footage on state TV.

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of a Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on oil facilities in the east of the Kingdom. After the attack the Pentagon ordered US troops to reinforce Saudi air and missile defenses.

In a speech at Monday’s parade, Rouhani denounced the US presence. “Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region,” he said.

“If they’re sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race.

“Their presence has always brought pain and misery ... the farther they keep themselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be.”

The US aims to avoid war with Iran and the additional troops are for “deterrence and defense,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

“If that deterrence should continue to fail, I am also confident that President Trump would continue to take the actions that are necessary,” he said.