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    Turkish soldiers stand guard in the border town of Akcakale on the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, April 27, 2017

    US Syria Envoy Heads to Saudi Arabia, Turkey for Talks on Political Solution

    © REUTERS / Kadir Celikcan
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US special envoy for Syria is traveling to Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to push for a political solution to the conflict and to establish a constitution, the State Department said in a press release.

    "The Secretary’s Special Representative for Syria Engagement, Ambassador James Jeffrey, will travel to Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, October 15–23, for discussions with allies and partners about Syria," the release said on Monday. "Throughout his trip, Ambassador Jeffrey will seek to meet representatives of the Syrian people and reiterate to them our full support for UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and UN Special Envoy de Mistura’s efforts to stand up the Syrian Constitutional Committee as quickly as possible."

    Relations between Ankara and Damascus have deteriorated since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. Although the Turkish leadership has recently somewhat softened its stance towards Damascus and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the two sides do not have diplomatic ties. For its part, the Syrian government regards Turkey's presence, let alone military operations, on its territory as illegitimate.

    READ MORE: Turkish Forces to Withdraw From Syria After Fair Elections Take Place — Erdogan

    Earlier this year, Ankara, jointly with the opposition Free Syrian Army forces, launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin in order to "clear" Turkey's Syrian border from the terrorist threat.

    The operation was said to be an offensive against the Kurdish-led Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD), its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG), and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions surrounding the Syrian city of Afrin. 

    READ MORE: Erdogan: Turkey Taking Steps With Russia Against Radical Groups in Syria

    Turkey considers both the PYD and the YPG to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.


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