Turkish FM: US only taking ‘cosmetic steps’ in Syria safe zone agreement

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar accused on Tuesday the United States of only taking “cosmetic steps” towards the planned “safe zone” in northeast Syria.

The comments came as two top US military officials are in Turkey for talks on the issue.

A ministry statement said a delegation headed by Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, deputy commander of the US European Command, and Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, deputy commander of the US Central Command, would meet with Turkish military officials on Tuesday.

Their visit comes days after Turkish and US troops conducted their first joint ground patrol of the “safe zone” that Ankara has been pressing for in the Kurdish-administered region.

Turkey hopes the buffer zone will keep Syrian Kurdish fighters away from its border. Turkey considers the US-backed fighters terrorists.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says rifts remain in the way Turkey and the US envision the zone.

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