“Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Ambassador James Jeffrey arrived in Ankara, Turkey today at the invitation of the Turkish government for meetings on July 22-23, 2019. Ambassador Jeffrey is leading an interagency delegation to continue discussions with senior Turkish officials to advance issues of mutual interest on Syria to include, addressing Turkey’s legitimate security concerns, the implementation of UNSCR 2254 on the resolution of the Syrian conflict, and our continued efforts to ensure an enduring defeat of ISIS [Daesh]”, the late Sunday statement said.
Syria has been engulfed in a civil war for over eight years, with government forces fighting various opposition groups and terror organizations.
The United States and Turkey have significant differences on the Syrian conflict, as Washington is backing the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), controlling the northern part of the Arab republic and is viewed by Ankara as an ally of the Turkish-based Kurdistan Workers Party, which is outlawed in Turkey.
US President Donald Trump announced in December 2018 that Washington would pull all of its troops out of Syria. Since the announcement, Washington has reportedly been trying to obtain assurances from Ankara about the future of its SDF allies following a US withdrawal.
The situation is exacerbated by Ankara's refusal to abandon a $2.5 billion deal on the purchase and installation of Russian S-400 air defence systems.
On Wednesday, the US said that Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence systems made it impossible to keep Turkey in the F-35 fighter jet program. Washington subsequently said it would unwind its relationship with Turkey in the F-35 program.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry called the US move a unilateral step which might bring irreparable damage to bilateral relations. The United States and NATO have repeatedly voiced concerns about the deal. Washington in particular argued that the Russian next-generation missile systems would compromise the F-35 project.
*Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, IS, Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.