US envoy for Syria engagement to visit Turkey, Jordan amid tension

Wednesday, 2018-12-05 15:45:26
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The US Secretary's Representative for Syria Engagement Jim Jeffrey. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)
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The US Secretary's Representative for Syria Engagement Jim Jeffrey will visit Turkey and Jordan as tension continues in the region, the US State Department said on December 4.

Traveling with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn, Jeffrey will visit the two countries on December 4-14, said the department in a statement.

In Turkey, Jeffrey will meet with Turkish leaders and other senior officials to discuss the security situation in Syria and attend a High-Level Working Group on Syria.

In Jordan, Jeffrey will meet with senior Jordanian officials on humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees and other issues, said the statement.

Relations between Turkey and the United States have been strained recently because of the support provided by Washington for the People's Protection Units (YPG), which is regarded by Ankara as Syrian affiliates of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Meanwhile, Turkey is uneasy about US plans to set up observation posts in northern Syria, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on December 1.

The US-led coalition has intensified its airstrikes in recent weeks to support the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is fighting to dislodge the Islamic State (IS) from its last stronghold on the eastern bank of Euphrates River.

At least 206 civilians were killed in November this year by US-led airstrikes on areas controlled by the IS in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on December 1.