Turkish defense minister meets US envoy for talks on Idlib
Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has met United States State Department’s Special Envoy James Jeffrey and U.S. Ambassador to Ankara David Satterfield in the Turkish capital to discuss the ongoing conflict in Idlib where the Turkish army launched an offensive against the Syrian regime forces.
Jeffrey arrived in Turkey on Monday and held his first meeting with Deputy Defense Minister Yunus Emre Karaosmanoğlu and other senior officials. The U.S. diplomats were later received by Akar.
Turkish and American officials have discussed bilateral and regional defense and security issues, particularly Idlib, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The visit comes after Turkey launched Operation Spring Shield in the Idlib province of Syria after its 34 troops were killed in an aerial attack by the regime forces.
Both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu have spoken to their counterparts, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for a potential deployment of Patriot air defense systems for the protection of its airspace.
The U.S. media reported over the weekend about a divergence between the Pentagon and the State Department on the U.S. support to Turkey. It suggested that Pentagon did not back Jeffrey’s proposal for the deployment of Patriots with concerns that it could drag the U.S. into a conflict with global ramifications.
Jeffrey is expected to hold talks with Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal on Tuesday. In the meantime, U.S. permanent representative to the U.N., Kelly Craft, will visit the border provinces of Gaziantep and Hatay on Tuesday to observe ongoing efforts for humanitarian assistance into Idlib.