Turkey-US joint patrols in Syria to start soon, trilateral summit with Russia, Iran ahead: Kalın

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 21.08.2019 19:47
Updated 21.08.2019 20:10
Spokesman İbrahim Kalın
Spokesman İbrahim Kalın

A period of intense diplomacy is awaiting Turkey, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said Wednesday, with talks between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the situation in Syria expected in the coming days.

"We will have a trilateral summit with Russia and Iran in Ankara on September 16," Kalın said, speaking after a cabinet meeting. The spokesman reiterated that Turkey was in talks with all concerned parties to reach a solution in war-torn Idlib, adding that joint patrols with the U.S. in Syria would start soon.

"We are preparing for phone calls with Putin as well as U.S. President Donald Trump," he added.

Kalın also said that Turkey had expressed its concerns regarding the Syrian regime's and Russia's attacks on the heavily-contested Idlib town, which is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster.

"Turkey has also conveyed its concerns to Russia," he added, in remarks that came after a Turkish military convoy was attacked Tuesday by regime jets.

The fragile cease-fire in northwestern Syria's Idlib is on the verge of crumbling due to the continuous attacks on residential areas by the Bashar Assad regime and Russia, which have caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians and displaced around 400,000 people.

Pushing intense diplomatic efforts since the beginning to give a chance to a political solution and thereby prevent a new humanitarian crisis, Ankara reiterated its call to maintain stability in the region but also warned the regime to refrain from any kind of aggression against Turkish troops.

The joint Turkish-U.S. operation center to establish and manage the safe zone will be fully operational next week, Defense Minister Akar said last week, adding that Ankara and Washington had also agreed in general terms about the control and coordination of air space in the region.

Recently, a six-member U.S. team also arrived at southeastern Şanlıurfa province on Aug. 12.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone and develop a peace corridor running from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border to facilitate the return of displaced Syrians currently living in Turkey to their home country and provide security for Turkish border settlements and military outposts. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center. The agreement envisages the setting up of measures necessary to address Turkey's security concerns.

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