By Safvan Allahverdi
Diplomatic conversations are being held between Washington and Ankara regarding Turkey’s ongoing operation against terror groups in Afrin, Syria, the Pentagon told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
“I can tell you that we are presently in conversations with our Turkish allies to resolve the situation right now,” according to spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway.
His remarks were in response to being asked if the Pentagon is in contact with Turkish authorities after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently said the U.S. is working with Ankara to find solutions to Turkey's legitimate security concerns.
“I can confirm to you that there are discussions happening right now between the United States and Turkey to resolve this particular crisis," Rankine-Galloway added without providing details.
Asked to define “crisis”, he clarified the situation in Afrin and more broadly, Turkey's security concerns.
Tillerson said Monday that Washington recognizes and fully appreciates Turkey's legitimate right to protect its citizens from terrorist elements that may be launching attacks targeting Turkish soil from Syria and that sides are in continuous contact.
His remarks came during a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London.
Tillerson also said a security zone could help stabilize the situation and meet Turkey's concerns about its security, U.S. media reported.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Saturday to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to Turkish General Staff, the operation is to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The U.S. has supported the PYD/PKK -- considered by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state. The terror campaign has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.
American support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the PYD/PKK-led umbrella group SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.