Tillerson Says US And Turkey Committed To Defeating Islamic State

"Let me be very frank, it's not easy, they are hard choices that have to be made", Tillerson told a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Indicating a possible shift in U.S. policy on the war in Syria from the days of the Obama administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on a trip to Turkey that the "longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people".

Terror groups are fighting against each other over territorial claims in Syria, Turkish foreign minister said Saturday.

Ankara views the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as a "terror group" linked to Kurdish separatists waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984, but Washington regards them as the best force fighting the IS. But he's suggesting no agreement has been reached. Tillerson said three main goals in talks with Turkish leadership were defeating the IS, bringing stability to the region and boosting bilateral economic ties.

The expert stated that Turkish plans to move further to Manbij were thwarted after Russian Federation has got involved the dispute between the YPG and Turkey as the latter threatened to move beyond east of al-Bab town if the Kurds do not leave Manbij region.

But Tillerson did not appear willing to withdraw USA support for the Kurdish militias, which have often proved to provide the most effective fighters on the battlefield. The U.S.is left with the Kurds and a ragtag group of Syrian opposition groups, not much of a consolation prize nor much more than America started with when the Syrian war began.

But flashes of tension during the visit left doubts about whether Tillerson had succeeded and raised new questions about the future of the US relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and partner in the broader fight against the Islamic State terrorist group.

The Pentagon sees the fighters as an effective ground force against a risky enemy, with a hard campaign to oust ISIS from its de facto capital, Raqqa, gearing up.

"The developments give an impression that the (Trump administration) is following the path of the past administration", he said, referring to the same tensions of the Obama years over the Syrian Kurdish militia role. But he added that "it is not correct to fight against one terrorist organization while co-operating with another". "That means the Euphrates Shield is over and any potential actions, if necessary, will be named differently".

European Union rules on political expression have failed to keep up with the free movement of people across the continent, Turkey-based analysts have said. His comments came after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced that Turkey had successfully completed its months-long Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria that aimed to clear its border off jihadist militants.

Nearby in northern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces tried under the cover of airstrikes by the US -led coalition to besiege the IS stronghold of Tabqa.

"Life is back to normal". But the US considers Syrian Kurdish fighters the most effective force at fighting IS and critical to liberating Raqqa.

Yildirim's office said he and Tillerson discussed the next steps that should be taken for Gulen's return to Turkey.

The Turkish presence in Syria has added to the complexity of the war against ISIL and seen two crucial United States allies - Turkey and the YPG - fighting one another.

The secretary, who paid the highest political visit to Turkey from the new USA administration, acknowledged that Washington faced "difficult choices" in the anti-IS campaign.

  • Leroy Wright