Kurdish forces must leave Syria, Turkey tells U.S.

<p style="text-align:left">Turkey told the United States on Tuesday that Kurdish militants must completely abandon Syria, as violence in the rebel-held northern Syrian enclave of Idlib escalated.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar made the call during talks with visiting U.S. special representative for Syria James Jeffrey, the defense ministry said in a statement.
According to Reuters Akar conveyed Ankara&rsquo;s discomfort with the presence of Kurdish militants in the region, it added.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly pledged to take back &ldquo;every inch&rdquo; of Syria, which would mean regaining both Idlib and Kurdish-led areas in the northeast.
Turkey, which has backed some rebels against Assad, has previously said a military operation into Idlib would be disastrous.
Ankara is angry over Washington&rsquo;s support for the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria. Ankara sees the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Turkish forces have carried out two-cross border operations against the YPG in Syria.
In a move long sought by Turkey, the NATO allies agreed in June to implement a roadmap for the northern Syrian city of Manbij. Under this, Turkish and U.S. forces are now carrying out joint patrols there to clear the area of YPG militants.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter he had also met Jeffrey to discuss developments in Idlib in particular.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Jeffrey conveyed Washington&rsquo;s stance that an offensive in Idlib would risk civilian lives and prospects of a political settlement of the Syrian war. Such an assault would &ldquo;fuel support for terrorism and harm regional stability&rdquo;, it also said on Twitter.
Ankara and Washington have more recently been in a stand-off over the fate of a U.S. evangelical pastor being tried in Turkey on terrorism charges that he denies. The row has helped to send Turkey&rsquo;s lira currency plunging about 40 percent this year.
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