Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Obama to Meet Erdogan Over Syria Crisis: Official
Mon Aug 29, 2016 7:54PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) receives US President Barack Obama for a bilateral meeting as part of the G50 Turkey summit on November 15, 2015 in Antalya. (photos by AFP)

US President Barack Obama is set to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss a range of issues including the Syria crisis, a senior US official announces.

The two presidents will meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in China on Sunday, said Ben Rhodes, the deputy US national security adviser.

"They will be discussing the counter-ISIL (Daesh) campaign and the fact that we need to stay united," Rhodes told reporters in Washington, DC, on Monday.

Turkey launched a bloody offensive in northern Syria last week and killed 25 Kurdish forces on Sunday, a day after a Turkish soldier died in a rocket attack allegedly by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

Clashes between the Turkish forces and the YPG have been criticized by the Pentagon, which called them "unacceptable."

“We are calling on all armed actors to stand down immediately and take appropriate measures to de-conflict,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called on Turkey to only focus on Daesh targets.

"We have called upon Turkey... to stay focused on the fight against ISIL and not to engage Syrian Defense Forces, and we've had a number of contacts over the last several days," Carter told reporters.

Turkish soldiers can be seen in a tank driving to Syria from the Turkish Syrian border city of Karkamis in the southern region of Gaziantep, on August 27, 2016.

Ankara regards the YPG and YPD, the Syrian Democratic Union Party, as allies of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.

The US-allied YPG, which controls nearly the entire northern border with Turkey, has been fighting against Daesh. Conversely, Turkey is running a dual military campaign in Syria targeting both Daesh militants and the YPG.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday that Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria will continue until YPG withdraws to east of Euphrates.

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