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Iraqi Kurdistan Ex-Leader, US Envoy Hold Talks Amid Turkey's Military Op Plans

© AFP 2021 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYEA flag of the autonomous Kurdistan region flies as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position to monitor the area from their front line post in Bashiqa, a town 13 kilometres north-east of Mosul (File)
A flag of the autonomous Kurdistan region flies as Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position to monitor the area from their front line post in Bashiqa, a town 13 kilometres north-east of Mosul (File) - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Masoud Barzani, the former president of the autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq, on Monday met with Brett McGurk, the US special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat the Daesh* terrorist group, Barzani's office said in a statement.

"President Barzani expressed his concern about the future of the Kurdish nation in Syria and explained his opinion and advice about how to resolve the problems and challenges facing the Kurdish nation in Syria," the statement read, as quoted by the Rudaw broadcaster.

The statement comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last Wednesday that Turkey could launch a military operation against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. The YPG makes up a major component of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

READ MORE: Turkish, US Presidents Discuss Future Operation in Syria — Erdogan's Aide

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Turkey and the United States have had tense relations in recent years, in part due to Ankara's concerns over US support for the YPG, viewed by the Turkish authorities as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Ankara has also repeatedly accused Washington of failing to fulfill its promises regarding the withdrawal of the YPG from Syria's Manbij.

Turkey has been claiming that the YPG's presence near its border threatened its national security.

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