Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Tuesday received U.S. Special Envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, in the capital Ankara.
In a closed-door meeting, Akar expressed Turkey's discomfort at the YPG/PKK presence in Syria and said that the terror group must leave the region.
He also conveyed Turkey’s intention to continue protecting its security and regional interests in accordance with international law, as well as the need to completely rid the region from the terrorist organization.
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.
00:41 dk 04 Eylül 2018 AA Turkish Defense Minister receives US Special Representative for Syria
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met with U.S. special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey in Ankara, Turkey on Tuesday.
The request came as Turkish and U.S. forces are carrying out joint patrols in the northwestern Syrian city of Manbij as part of a roadmap to clear the area of the YPG.
Turkey has carried out two-cross border operations against the YPG in Syria.
In a move long sought by Turkey, the NATO allies agreed in June to implement a roadmap for the northern Syrian city of Manbij, where Ankara had threatened to push its ground offensive despite the U.S. troops stationed there.
UN sees 'moment of truth' for Syria political process
Talks between major powers this month on setting up a committee to lead constitutional reform in Syria will be a "moment of truth" for a credible political process, U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura told reporters on Tuesday.De Mistura will hold separate sets of talks next week, one involving Russia, Turkey and Iran, and the other including the United States and Saudi Arabia, to discuss the makeup of the committee.He said it must not be allowed to become a "long, winding process about the process" but could be the entry point into Syrian government reforms leading to elections after the war. Kremlin dismisses Trump warning on Syria's Idlib'White Helmets saved 115,000 lives in Syria'Trump warns Assad against ‘recklessly attacking’ Idlib
Kremlin dismisses Trump warning on Syria's Idlib
The Kremlin dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump's warning to Syria not to launch an offensive in the opposition-held enclave of Idlib, saying on Tuesday that the area was a "nest of terrorism".Trump on Monday warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Iran and Russia not to "recklessly attack" the northwestern Syrian province, saying hundreds of thousands of people could be killed."Just to speak out with some warnings, without taking into account the very dangerous, negative potential for the whole situation in Syria, is probably not a full, comprehensive approach," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.The presence of the opposition in Idlib was undermining the Syrian peace process and making the region a base for attacks on Russian forces in Syria, Peskov added.Trump warns Assad against ‘recklessly attacking’ Idlib"A fairly large group has settled there and of course this leads to a general destabilisation of the situation. It undermines attempts to bring the situation onto the track of a political-diplomatic settlement," he said."We know that Syria's armed forces are preparing to resolve this problem," he added.Russia resumed air strikes in Idlib province on Tuesday after a hiatus of several weeks, according to a Syrian opposition member and a war monitor.A source has told Reuters that Assad is preparing a phased offensive to regain the province.The situation around Idlib will be one of the main items on the agenda when the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey meet in Tehran this week, Peskov told reporters on a conference call, declining to elaborate further. UN sees 'moment of truth' for Syria political processAssad sought peace with Israel in 2010: Kerry memoir
Russia resumes Idlib air strikes: Syrian Observatory
A Syrian opposition member and a war monitor said Russian air strikes had resumed in Syria's northwestern Idlib province on Tuesday after several weeks.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sworn to recapture every inch of Syria and has made big gains against the opposition since Russia joined his war effort in 2015.Last week, a source close to Damascus said the government was preparing a phased offensive to recover Idlib province, but Turkey, whose army has a string of observation posts around the edge of the area, has warned against such an assault.Possible war between Israel, Iran loomsRussian air raids ceased in and around Idlib on August 15, but pro-Syrian government forces have maintained an aerial bombardment and shelling against the opposition there, the war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.The opposition source and the Observatory both said the air strikes were in the countryside near Jisr al-Shughour on the western edge of the northwestern territory.Russian, Turkish and Iranian leaders are due to meet on Sept. 7 in Iran and are expected to discuss the situation in northwestern Syria.Germany urges prevention of disaster in Syria’s IdlibTrump warns Assad against ‘recklessly attacking’ IdlibTurkey deploys more military vehicles to Syrian borderFrance 'concerned' over the situation in Idlib
Possible war between Israel, Iran looms
Clashes between Israeli and Iranian forces in Syria could lead to a new conflict, Richard C. Baffa, a senior international/defense researcher at the RAND Corporation and Nathan Vest, a research assistant and Middle East specialist also at RAND Corporation warned.Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday hinted that Israel could strike Iranian targets outside Syria. The Israeli Broadcasting Authority quoted Lieberman as saying: “We aren’t limiting ourselves to Syrian territory. That should be clear. We will fight against all of Iran’s threats, regardless of where it comes from.”Signs of warIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously emphasized that Tel Aviv was against any Iranian presence in Syria. Tehran’s goal to build a lasting military presence in the country has been rejected time and time again by Tel Aviv, which has gone so far as to launch attacks to deter Iran, although these have proven fruitless.Trump warns Assad against ‘recklessly attacking’ Idlib“Past Israeli conflicts, such as the 2006 Hezbollah War, reveal common signposts on Israel's 'road to war,' in which a series of provocations prompted large-scale Israeli operations. Today, Israel's threat perception is much higher, as Tehran seems intent on pressing its perceived advantage in Syria and bolstering Lebanese Hezbollah’s (LH) precision strike capability with advanced weapons and an indigenous production capability,” Baffa and Vest wrote in an article published in late August.Iran and Hezbollah are strong allies of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, the forces of which have been fighting opposition groups in a deadly civil war since 2011.Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.Turkey deploys more military vehicles to Syrian borderNew conflict would be more destructive than previous clashes“A new war between Israel and LH that directly involves Iranian forces would potentially be far larger in scope and more destructive than the 2006 [Hezbollah] conflict. LH has a more-capable military, battle-hardened from years in Syria, and a rocket and missile force that can strike deep into Israeli territory,” they added.RAND backs US presence in SyriaBaffa and Vest stated that it was in Washington’s best interest to maintain its presence in Syria. This comes as no surprise, as RAND Corporation is known for its links to the U.S. intelligence services.“Continuing to entertain the possibility of exchanging a withdrawal of U.S. forces for a near-term peace deal and a tentative agreement to limit the Iranian presence in Syria could be a mistake. The United States would be better off reaffirming its presence in Syria and maintaining its hard and soft power efforts to constrain Iran and reduce the risk of another large-scale and disastrous war in the Middle East,” the article concluded.US special representative heads to Turkey to discuss SyriaIsrael may strike Iran targets outside Syria: Lieberman‘US is preparing to strike over 20 regime positions in Syria’
YPG/PKK terror group suffers heavy losses in August
A total of 170 YPG/PKK terrorists in Turkey and abroad were "neutralized" in August, including senior figures of the terror group, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency.Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.On Aug. 1-31, 11 security personnel were martyred in terror attacks, while 19 security personnel and two civilians were injured.In the same period, 253 terror suspects were arrested as part of operations against PKK in Turkish cities, including senior figures of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and Democratic Regions Party (DBP). Of them 70 were remanded in custody.Turkish jets neutralize 3 terrorists in northern IraqIbrahim Coban and Baris Oner on the Interior Ministry’s "red list", C. Sinan Oktulmus, Omer Duran and Vehbi Tas on the "orange list", and Deniz Tali and M. Sirin Ozen on the "grey list" were among those neutralized in August.The wanted list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red as the most wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and grey.Also, PKK's senior figures Ismail Ozden and Pinar Yildirim, the so-called representative of the far-left TKP/ML terror group in eastern Tunceli province's Ovacik district Ilker Tezer, and PKK's so-called representative in eastern Erzurum province Mahmut Lacin were neutralized.The operations continue to target PKK terrorist positions in northern Iraq.Nearly 400 terrorists were neutralized in northern Iraq and the Mt. Qandil region over the past months.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 death of some 40,000 people, including those of women and children.The PYD/YPG 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.