Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and US President Barack Obama. File photo: AFP
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ERBIL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington on Tuesday and is expected to discuss their disputes with the United States about the Syrian Kurds, one of the most effective groups fighting the Islamic State (ISIS). However, Erdogan would most likely not have a formal meeting with US president Barack Obama.
“Look, there’s no doubt we’re going to talk about the situation in Syria and about that stretch of border that continues to provide an avenue for foreign fighters and supplies to get to Daesh [ISIS] across their border,” said US state department spokesperson John Kirby on Monday.
There are rumours that Kurds started a operation to expel the Islamic State from the borderline with Turkey, starting from Tishreen dam in coordination with the US. The US wants the border stretch to be closed, which is still used by the Islamic State to smuggle in foreign fighters, while YPG-controlled borders are completely free from foreign jihadis.
According to the pro-Turkish government Daily Sabah, the US has sent military advisors to the YPG-held Kobane city in northern Syria to help them with the Manbij offensive.
“But obviously, the Turks have concerns about this [the Kurds] and we continue to look forward to having discussions with them and engage with them on those concerns. I mean, we – we understand there’s – they still have those concerns,” Kirby added.
“Our view, and I’ve said this as recently as last week – we don’t accept [Kurdish] semi-autonomous, self-declared zones inside Syria. That’s not going to change. But we’ll see how the meeting goes and I’ll certainly give you a readout after it’s over, but this is not a new topic of discussion,” he said.
“It’s not a new issue – area of concern by Turkish authorities, and we look forward to continuing to have a dialogue with them.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg
Source: ARA News