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US sends Syria envoy to Ankara ahead of Geneva talks

US Syria envoy Jim Jeffrey is expected to meet with Turkish officials to discuss the US-backed Kurdish militants along its border as part of his continuing efforts to arrange a safe zone in the area.
U.S. special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey (R) attends a meeting during the consultations on Syria, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland September 14, 2018. Xu Jinquan/Pool via REUTERS - RC1F7A552520

The US administration’s top Syria envoy Jim Jeffrey will hold talks with Turkish officials in Ankara tomorrow to discuss what the State Department called in a statement Turkey’s “legitimate security concerns,” which is shorthand for Ankara’s worries about the presence of US-backed Kurdish militants along its border.

Sources familiar with Jeffrey’s efforts to broker a deal between Turkey and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) for a proposed safe zone aired skepticism that the US diplomat would mark much progress before heading to Geneva for meetings with the Syrian Small Group that includes officials from Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, all potential contributors, or so Washington hopes, to a proposed safe zone in northern Syria.

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