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US warns Turkey on Syria amid last-ditch talks to resolve buffer zone dispute

The United States says it will prevent a unilateral incursion into Syria by its NATO ally, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s patience is running out with protracted talks on removing Kurdish fighters from Turkey’s border region.
Turkish Army tanks are seen near the Turkish-Syrian border in Kilis province, Turkey January 31, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RC1F815A6580

The head of the Pentagon cautioned Turkey on Tuesday against undertaking a unilateral military operation in northern Syria to target a US-allied Kurdish militia as American defense officials visited Ankara in what was seen as an eleventh-hour effort by Washington to block a Turkish attack.

Tensions between the NATO allies over the border region that Turkey considers part of its national security sphere have come to a head as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns he is running out of patience with the long-running negotiations. The two sides are discussing the size and scope of a buffer zone south of the Turkish border that would expel the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by Kurdish militants that Ankara considers a terrorist organization.

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