21:18 GMT25 September 2020
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    CAIRO (Sputnik) – The US-led coalition, fighting the Daesh terror group, has not yet addressed Iraq’s Defense Ministry to coordinate the issue of establishing a new border security force in Syria near to the Turkish and Iraqi borders, Iraqi Defense Ministry’s spokesman Tayar Khafaji told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    "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.

    READ MORE: Iraqi Forces Launch Cleanup Raid Against Terrorists on Border With Syria

    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.

    The US plans to create a border security force in Syria prompted condemnation from Damascus, which called these activities aggression and occupation.

    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.


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