Turkish, US defense chiefs discuss Syria on phone

Hulusi Akar, Patrick Shanahan address US withdrawal process, proposed safe zone in Syria over phone

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar (front R) and US Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan (L)

Turkey’s defense minister and the acting U.S. defense chief spoke over phone Thursday to discuss recent developments in Syria, Turkish Defense Ministry said.

Hulusi Akar and Patrick Shanahan addressed U.S. withdrawal process and proposed safe zone in Syria, the ministry said on Twitter.

Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement that the U.S. would be withdrawing all of its troops from Syria and said Daesh had been defeated in the country.

Underlining Turkey’s advocacy for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that Turkey cannot leave a region that could threaten it to anyone, and Turkey would establish a presence in such a zone.

He reiterated that the proposed safe zone must be under his country’s control, adding Turkey cannot leave this to Germany, France or the U.S.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.


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