By Tugrul Cam
A high-level U.S. delegation arrived here Monday to discuss a number of issues with officials, including cooperation and the Turkish military operation in Syria’s Afrin region, according to diplomatic sources.
The American delegation will also have a meeting at the Turkish General Staff.
The Turkish group will be led by Deputy Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ahmet Muhtar Gun at the meeting Tuesday, and the U.S. delegation will be headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary Jonathan Cohen, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Diplomatic conversations are being held between Washington and Ankara regarding Turkey’s ongoing operation against terror groups in Afrin, the Pentagon told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
“I can tell you that we are presently in conversations with our Turkish allies to resolve the situation right now,” said spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Saturday to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation is to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The U.S. has supported the PYD/PKK, considered by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state. The terror campaign has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.
American support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the PYD/PKK-led umbrella group SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.