The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad condemned the United States and Turkey for deliberating so-called “actions of a prolonged occupation” of the northeastern Arab Republic.
In a statement released by the Syrian Foreign Ministry, Damascus expressed “its complete rejection of the agreement” that the Americans and Turks announced with regard to “establishing a safe zone.” Instead of dividing the country, the Assad regime sought to encourage the Kurdish population of the northeastern part of Syria to once again unify with the country, while urging the Kurdish militias to “stand in one line with all Syrians and the Syrian Army to defend” against a probable Turkish invasion.
Meanwhile in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned the United States that Turkey will not allow efforts to establish a safe zone with the United States in northeast Syria to stall in the same way that an agreement on control of the Syrian town of Manbij has been delayed. He said: “We will not allow these efforts (on the safe zone) to turn into the Manbij roadmap. Manbij roadmap was said to be implemented in 90 days. The roadmap was clear and as Secretary of State (Mike) Pompeo and I, we ratified this on June 4 but in practice, the United States delayed this with many excuses, such as joint patrols. We will not allow this process to be delayed as well. It needs to be put in practice.”
The Turkish top diplomat referred to “The Manbij roadmap,” which was an agreement made between the NATO allies last year for the withdrawal of the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara views as a terror organization, from the Syrian town that is located adjacent to the border with Turkey.
Meanwhile in Washington; the United States praised the agreement to establish a safe zone in northeast Syria – yet emphasized that additional details need to be worked out. According to U.S. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus: “The military to military talks in Ankara made progress towards establishing a sustainable security mechanism that addresses the legitimate concerns of our NATO ally Turkey and the United States. While there are additional details that need to be worked out, we are encouraged by the initial steps that came out of these talks. A U.S.-Turkey joint operation center will be established in Turkey, to continue planning and implementation. We look forward to continuing our work with our partners on this important matter to achieve peace and security in Northeast Syria.”