PKK Syrian branch to be blocked from 'safe zone'

Turkish diplomatic sources say zone near border, which is to be cleared of Daesh, will be made 'safe' after US-Turkey joint operation. Turkey is in agreement with the U.

Turkish diplomatic sources say zone near border, which is to be cleared of Daesh, will be made 'safe' after US-Turkey joint operation.

Turkey is in agreement with the U.S. to block the Democratic Union Party (PYD) from a Daesh-free "safe zone" in northern Syria, said several Turkish diplomatic sources.

The PYD is a Syria-based affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

Joint operations will also follow at a proper time, the sources said.

But in Washington, the State Department said it could not confirm that the Syrian Kurdish fighters would be prohibited from entering the area.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on July 29 the decision to allow the use of Turkey’s air bases by coalition aircraft, meaning the Incirlik base “could be used any time, whenever needed”.

According to Turkish officials who wished to remain nameless, Turkey and the U.S. warned the PYD not to cross to the west of the Firat (Euphrates) River. They were also warned, still according to Turkish diplomatic sources, not to proceed to any demographic change in the region and allow the return of Syria's Turkmen and Arab population, which had previously left their home because of fighting with Daesh.

Turkish diplomatic sources said the zone to be cleared of Daesh will be made "safe" after a U.S.-Turkey joint operation.

Subsequently, moderate Syrian opposition forces are to be deployed in what Turkey calls the "safe zone".

The U.S. maintained Tuesday that it does not view efforts to clear Daesh from the northern Syrian border as a bid to create a "safe zone."

“We've been very careful not to put monikers or descriptions describing what this area is going to look like except to say our effort is focused on driving ISIL out of the region,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

The Turkish officials also said stated that the train-and-equip program for the Syrian opposition was underway.

The train-and-equip program, jointly organized by the U.S. and coalition partners, is intended to help prepare Syrian opposition fighters in the campaign against Daesh, as part of the agreement signed by the U.S. and Turkey on Feb. 17 to allow up to 1,000 U.S. troops to participate in the training in Turkey.

- U.S. anti-Daesh envoy meets with Turkish officials

The U.S. envoy for the international anti-Daesh coalition, Brett McGurk, arrived in the Turkish capital Ankara Wednesday to meet with Turkish officials.

"In #Ankara today meeting with senior Turkish officials to advance our joint cooperation against #ISIL [Daesh] terrorists," McGurk tweeted on his official account on Wednesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama's Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs (Iran and Iraq) had visited northern Iraq previously.

Resource, Anadolu Agency, August 12, 2015

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