US observation posts aim less harassment fire across Turkish border: US envoy
U.S. special representative for Syria James Jeffrey said the new US military posts near Turkish border in northern Syria aims less harassment fire and ensuring security of the region including Turkey’s.
“The idea is here discouragement of harassment fire,” Jeffrey told a group of journalists after his talks with the Turkish officials in Ankara for a joint working group on Syria.
“Remember these are not combat outposts. They are not there to stop anyone from shooting. They are there to find out what’s going out on the ground with the idea that if we are able to observe an area, probably there will less shooting in the area. That’s of interest of Turkey, interest of us and people of north Syria,” he said when asked about Turkey’s concerns that the posts cause negative perspective as if they were for protection of YPG from Turkish fire.
“These observations posts will give us more information what was going on and deter among any other things anybody shooting into Turkey from across the border,” he said noting that the Turkish government had given Washington various evidence of such attacks across the border. “The intent is to try to ensure security in that area including the security of Turkey,” he added.
Regime is responsible for failure of any processes
Jeffrey’s talks in Ankara came few days after he suggested the U.S. wanted the Astana process — the three-way negotiations between Turkey, Russia and Iran — to be brought to an end.
The envoy stressed the US had “no problem” with the aim of Ankara and Sochi initiatives which served for de-conflicting the military situation in Syria.
“My criticism is; do we need with the changing Di Mistura to the new special envoy with the decision taken by four heads of state of governments in İstanbul in Turkey a month ago to stand up the constitutional committee which is the first step in the political process.
He noted that the new UN representative “need to look at what are alternatives, how can we move this process forward and very importantly who is responsible for this process not moving forward.”
Jeffrey stressed the new envoy should point at who is responsible for failing in political process and expressed the argument of Washington that the regime should be blamed for the failure.
“It’s our strong belief that is the regime. It’s not Astana/Sochi process, not Russians, not Iranians. It certainly isn’t the Turks, they have taken very good position on this we have praised previously.”
“It’s the regime that is not allowing any processes, be it in Sochi or any other,” he said expressing hope that they will see something different in these three weeks ahead.
“But at the end of this period we have to ask the question, what is next?”
We haven’t been successful nobody has been successful. We expect the UN to explain why all of these efforts were failed. We think the answer is, it has been the total refuse of the regime and Damascus to move to the slightest degree to respond the urgent appeals of the entire international community.”
Manbij a model for Turkey-US cooperation in Syria
Manbij deal is a model for Turkish-American cooperation in Syria, the envoy said.
“How we apply it on other places depends on which places we are looking at. Now we focus on Manbij,” he said when asked if Manbij model will be applied to other towns in the east of Euphrates as well.
Recalling the statement by the Foreign Ministry that they committed to accelerated and concrete progress on the Manbij Roadmap by the end of the year, the envoy noted the road map calls for series of steps; “We do various patrols, the commitment of the us was for members of the PYD and YPG, who are present in Manbij, to leave and for the local councils and for local military personal not to include those organizations.”
“So we are going to take a few more steps to ensure that we meet that criteria as soon as possible some of them will be completed by the end of December,” he said.