Turkey has proposed to the United States that Syrian Kurdish YPG militia withdraw to east of the Euphrates River in Syria and that Turkish and U.S. troops be jointly stationed in the country’s Manbij area, according to a Turkish official.
The official, who spoke to the Reuters news agency Friday on condition of anonymity because the information had not been made public, said the U.S. was considering the proposal presented to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his two-day visit to Ankara.
Meanwhile, Tillerson met with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu for talks focusing on Washington’s plan to continue providing assistance to Kurdish militants.
Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference after their meeting, Tillerson called on Ankara to “show restraint in its operation” while insisting that Turkey and the United States “share the same objectives in Syria.”
Tillerson met late Thursday with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for more than three hours, after which both sides said the discussion was productive but inconclusive.
Turkey launched an air and ground assault last month in Syria’s northwest Afrin region to drive the YPG from the area south of its border.
Ankara considers the YPG an arm of the PKK, a banned Kurdish group that has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in Brussels Thursday that the United States and Turkey are in open dialogue about their differences. Turkey’s defense minister was among those Mattis met at NATO headquarters.