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Turkey, US discuss accelerating safe zone establishment

– Turkey, US military officials agreed on Aug. 7 to set up safe zone in northern Syria

By Ferdi Turkten

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and the U.S. National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien discussed accelerating the establishment of the safe zone in northern Syria over the phone.

Kalin and O’Brien touched on several issues including bilateral trade target of $100 billion annually, counter-terrorism and developments in Syria and Libya.

Referring to the northern Syria, top officials highlighted the expectations on accelerating the establishment of safe zone.

Turkey reiterated its call on the U.S. to stop providing aid for PKK/YPG/PYD terror group.

Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed on Aug. 7 to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return to their homeland.

Turkish leaders have said the U.S. is not doing enough to establish the zone, which could house some 2-3 million Syrians who fled the Syrian civil war since 2011.

Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. Ankara has so far spent $40 billion for the refugees, according to official figures.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The terrorist YPG is the PKK's Syrian branch.

The YPG/PKK and PYD/PKK are Syrian branches of the terrorist PKK and the focus of Turkey's successful counter-terrorist Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Syria, near the border with Turkey.

Kalin also congratulated O'Brien for his new duty.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is appointing special envoy for hostage negotiations, Robert C. O’Brien, to replace former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

O'Brien will become Trump's fourth national security advisor after Michael Flynn, H.R. McMaster, and Bolton, who held the post for the longest tenure followed by McMaster.

Trump floated O'Brien's name Tuesday to serve as his new national security advisor.

* Writing by Gozde Bayar

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