US continues talks with Turkey on buffer zone in northeast Syria — Department of State

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© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON, February 20. /TASS/. The United States continues its talks with Turkey on creating a buffer zone in northeastern Syria after the withdrawal of US troops from the area, US Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said on Tuesday.

“We are actively engaging with Turkey on this, and that is part of our efforts to ensure a safe withdrawal of United States forces and a stabilized northeast Syria,” the US official said, answering to a reporter’s question. “We take Turkey’s legitimate security concerns [about the presence of Kurdish Self-Defense Forces] seriously. We take them into account in our activities and we are – we have ongoing coordination. We’re not going to discuss specifics on these talks, but they continue.”

Palladino also confirmed Washington’s commitment to the pullout of US military forces from Syria.

“As President Trump has stated from the outset, the United States is withdrawing its forces from Syria in a manner that is deliberate and coordinated, and we’re going to continue to work together to fight ISIS [Islamic State terrorist group, outlawed in Russia], and – but that’s something that’s going to continue. We have no timelines to discuss at the current time,” Palladino said.

Last week, a series of meetings between US and Turkish officials took place in Washington. The sides discussed creating a security zone from the city of Jarabulus on the Western bank of the Euphrates river to the Fish Khabur border crossing wedged between Syria, Turkey and Iraq.

On February 14, US President Donald Trump said his country would “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacks Kurds in the region following the withdrawal of US troops from Syria. He also said that Kurds should refrain from provocations against Turkey. Trump also said that a 32-km buffer zone should be established in northern Syria.

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