Turkish, US officials discuss developments in Syria
Turkish and U.S. officials met on Feb. 12 in the capital Ankara to discuss the latest developments in northwestern Syria.
Deputy Defense Minister Yunus Emre Karaosmanoğlu, U.S. special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey and U.S. ambassador to Turkey Michael Satterfield exchanged views on regional security issues, especially the situation in Idlib province.
Karaosmanoğlu said more concrete steps should be taken to stop the human tragedy in Idlib or there will be a new wave of refugees that will exceed the boundaries of Turkey.
He also stressed that the U.S. should end its support, including arms and ammunition, for the PKK-KCK/YPG terrorist organization.
Jeffrey arrived in Turkey on Feb. 11 to meet Turkish officials and re-evaluate recent developments in the region.
'US takes Turkey's concerns in Idlib seriously'
The U.S. is taking Turkey's security concerns seriously in the Syrian province of Idlib as the confrontation between Ankara and Bashar al-Assad regime's grows, a senior State Department official said on Feb. 12.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Christopher Robinson told the Senate Foreign Relations committee that Turkey has been facing threats from its Syrian border, citing Iran and Russian as the sources of the menace.
"While we have some differences with the government of Ankara on certain issues, we are engaged with them, because we take their security concerns seriously," said Robinson. "Turkey is key NATO ally and it is a key player in regional security issues. We continue to engage with them."
His remarks came after the Assad regime forces continued attacks on civilians and the recent attack on Turkish troops that killed at least five Turkish soldiers and injured many others in Syria's northwestern Idlib.
"Turkey has just suffered serious losses from soldiers in Syria at the hand of Assad regime backed by the Russian government," said the senior U.S. official.
Robinson said Turkey has been calling for Russia to fulfill its responsibilities on what is happening in the war-torn country.
"Russia is not honoring its commitments. This is a continuing problem. They say one thing, but their acts tell another story," he added.
The attack earlier this week followed last week's attack by regime forces in Idlib which martyred seven Turkish soldiers and one civilian contractor working with the Turkish military. It also injured more than a dozen people.
Turkey retaliated for both attacks, hitting scores of targets and killing 200 Assad regime troops.