"As of now, there has been no coordination on this issue with the Defense Ministry. If there is [coordination], if this issue is on the negotiating table, the, of course, the ministry will engage," Khafaji said.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry is coordinating its activities with the coalition to a significant extent, the spokesman stressed. Khafaji emphasized the coalition’s support to Baghdad in fighting terrorism, adding that Baghdad coordinates the activities of its forces in this area with the coalition directly.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry also coordinates its activities with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and receives support from the alliance, Khafaji pointed out.
Col. Thomas Veale, the public affairs officer of the US-led coalition, said in an interview with The Defense Post news outlet, published on Saturday, that the coalition had been training the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to create a 30,000-strong force to maintain security along Syria's borders. On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he had discussed the issue with Pentagon chief James Mattis.
Turkey, in turn, reiterated its condemnation of Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurds, which Ankara sees linked with the Turkish Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK), designated as terrorist organization in Turkey. Ankara also threatened to start an offensive against the Kurds in Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that US plans to create the border force showed the lack of Washington’s interest to preserve Syria’s integrity.