By Sarp Ozer
WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. authorities accepted on working to avoid any delay on Manbij roadmap in northern Syria and to conclude it quickly, the Turkish defense minister said on Saturday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency following his meeting with Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in Pentagon, Hulusi Akara said they reminded the U.S. delegations at the meeting that there should be no authority gap during troops withdrawal from Syria.
Akar, together with Turkish Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler, arrived in Washington on Friday to discuss Syria and other bilateral and regional issues with the U.S. officials.
The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region, which is located in the northern part of Syria’s Aleppo province.
Turkey vowed to carry out a counterterror operation in Syria, east of the Euphrates, following two similar successful operations since 2016.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — recognized as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG/PYD is the group's Syrian branch.
- FETO terror group
During the meeting, the Turkish delegation also mentioned the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the U.S.-based leader of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), and other members of the terror group residing in the U.S. soil, Akar added.
He went on to say that Ankara “will follow the issue closely in upcoming days”.
FETO and its leader Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
According to Turkish officials, Ankara has requested Gulen's extradition from the U.S. several times.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police and the judiciary.