US 'keenly aware' of Turkey's security concerns, Tillerson says

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares for a meeting of a U.S.-led coalition fighting against Daesh (AP Photo)
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson prepares for a meeting of a U.S.-led coalition fighting against Daesh (AP Photo)

The U.S. is "keenly aware" of Turkey's security concerns and remains concerned over recent events in northwest Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday.

Speaking at a meeting of the global coalition against Daesh in Kuwait, Tillerson said that the end of major combat operations against Daesh does not mean the United States and its allies have achieved an enduring defeat of the terrorist group.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is also attending the same meeting in Kuwait.

U.S. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster visited Turkey last weekend, while Tillerson will come this week.

The visits by top U.S. officials come amid Turkey's Operation Olive Branch targeting the PKK terror group's affiliates in Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People's Protection Units (YPG), as well as Daesh in northwestern Syria's Afrin region.

The operation and the U.S.' presence in Syria's Manbij — where Turkey has vowed to extend it — are expected to be discussed during the meeting.

The U.S.' Syria policy, especially its military support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists, has been a cause of tension between the two NATO allies.

Washington relies on the YPG to fight against Daesh on the ground, while Ankara argues that one terrorist group cannot be used to fight another terrorist group.

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