Turkey calls for end to US support for Syrian Kurds

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Turkey called on the United States to end its support for a Kurdish militia in northern Syria as the two countries held talks on Monday aimed at preventing a fresh Turkish invasion.

“The US should positively answer our request to end its partnership with the YPG in Syria,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.

The statement came as defense officials from the United States sat down with their counterparts in Ankara for last-ditch talks aimed at creating a “safe zone” in northern Syria to keep the YPG away from Turkey’s border.

Washington has supported the YPG as the main fighting force against the Islamic State group in Syria.

But Ankara sees it as an offshoot of the Kurdish PKK, which has fought a bloody insurgency inside Turkey for the past 35 years.

Turkey has so far been unimpressed with the details of the US “safe zone” plan in Syria and has renewed threats to launch a cross-border offensive if the talks fail to reach a “satisfactory” conclusion.

“We can only be patient for so long. That patience will come to an end,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

He repeated a threat he has persistently made for the past 18 months to launch an offensive east of the Euphrates River against the YPG.

Turkish media has regularly shown images in recent weeks of military convoys heading for the border area, carrying equipment and fighting units.

Turkey has twice carried out unilateral offensives into northern Syria against the Islamic State group and YPG, in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

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