Turkey: Russia, US military chiefs meet in Antalya

March 7, 2017, Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces Hulusi Akar (C), US Chairman of the Joint Staff General Joseph Dunford (L), and Russian Chief of General Staff General Valery Gerasimov (R) during a meeting in Antalya. (Via AFP)

The Turkish army says its chief of the general staff has met with his Russian and American counterparts in Turkey, discussing the situation in Iraq and Syria among other things.

The meeting among Gens. Hulusi Akar, Valery Gerasimov, and Joseph Dunford took place in the southeastern city of Antalya on Tuesday, the army said.

“Common issues relating to regional security, in particular Syria and Iraq, are being discussed at the meeting,” it said in a statement.

Turkey and Russia were two of the three countries — the other being Iran — that successfully facilitated a ceasefire deal between the warring sides in Syria. The three guarantor states have also been mediating talks between the Syrian government and opposition toward politically resolving the six-year conflict in Syria.

Turkey is wary of the presence of Kurdish fighters close to its borders in both Syria and Iraq. It associates the fighters with anti-Ankara Kurdish militants and has deployed troops to both of Arab countries without their approval to rein in their movements.

The Kurdish fighters have seized considerable territory from the Takfiri terrorist group Daesh in Syria and have majorly contributed to counterterrorism operations in Iraq.
Last month, Akar submitted two proposals to Dunford for an alleged potential operation to “liberate” the northern Syrian city of Raqqah from Daesh.

According to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, the plans envision Turkish and US forces approaching Raqqah either via the nearby city of al-Bab or the border town of Tal Abyad.

By Africafrique and agencies


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