Turkey Carried Out Gas Attack in Afrin: YPG Kurds, Syrian Gov't

Turkey Carried Out Gas Attack in Afrin: YPG Kurds, Syrian Gov't

The U.S. and Turkey will hold another meeting created to calm tensions in Syria in mid-March. In addition to concerns about the Turks buying a system that is not compatible with the alliance's equipment, Turkey could face sanctions under USA law passed previous year to punish Russian Federation if it goes ahead with the deal.

However, the same group is a key ally of the U.S.in the fight against ISIL. Turkey, however, considers the YPG to be a "terrorist" organization, alleging that it is closely tied to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey. Both the US and Turkey oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Cavusoglu expressed Turkish anger that a cleric they suspect of being behind a 2016 attempted coup is living in Pennsylvania.

He added that Turkey and the United States had to solve the tensions surrounding the Kurdish militia-held Syrian town of Manbij - which Ankara has threatened to attack - as a "priority".

Speaking in Beirut before his meeting with Erdogan, Tillerson denied Washington ever gave heavy weaponry to the YPG and thus could not gather up such arms, as desired by Ankara.

"As you know, the Secretary is on the ground there, so I'm not going to detail too much about what we may or may not do", she told reporters.

In the end, Tillerson and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu agreed to create what they called a "results-oriented mechanism" to address tensions, starting with their disagreement over US support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and the potential for clashes there.

Additionally, tension also spiked between the USA and Russian Federation, when Washington recently accused Moscow of protecting Assad from responsibility for what they said multiple chlorine gas attacks on civilians in recent weeks.

Turkey Carried Out Gas Attack in Afrin: YPG Kurds, Syrian Gov't
Turkey Carried Out Gas Attack in Afrin: YPG Kurds, Syrian Gov't

Analysts said the level of tension was similar to 2003 when Turkey refused to let U.S. troops operate from its territory for the Iraq war, or even the aftermath of Ankara's invasion of Cyprus in 1974. They insisted that Tillerson speak to Erdogan alone, unaccompanied by aides or an American interpreter. "We talked about the ways to bring decisions to life, we have chose to create a mechanism for solve these problems", the Turkish official said.

According to observers, the relations of the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have been so strained in recent years that realism should prevail and no miracle solutions seem to be on the table for a quick recovery. "I hope this will happen very soon".

"We're going to work through the issues that are causing difficulties for us and we're going to resolve them", Tillerson told a news conference after a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Such rhetoric was absent on Friday and US officials expressed hope that it would not resurface in the days after Tillerson's visit, which followed a similar trip earlier this month by national security adviser H.R. McMaster. The U.S. has been supporting the YPG in order to fight IS in northern Syria.

Cavusoglu said Turkey understood the law, but that air defense is a critical national security concern and Ankara had been unable to find another supplier.

But Turkey has proposed extending its campaign further east to the town of Manbij, where U.S. troops are based, potentially leading to direct confrontation with US-backed units.In a proposal that could signal an important breakthrough in efforts to overcome the allies´ stark differences over Syria, a Turkish official told Reuters that Turkey had proposed that Turkish and USA forces could deploy jointly in Manbij.

A Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighter looks through a pair of military binoculars outside of Afrin, Syria February 17, 2018.

Erdogan accused the USA of "building an army of terror" on his border.

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