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Turkish, US military chiefs meet, discuss developments in Syria, Iraq

Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, Hulusi Akar (R) talks with Chairman of the US Joint Staff General Joseph Francis Dunford (L) during a trilateral meeting with the attendance of Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces General Valery Gerasimov (not seen), on the current situation in Syria and Iraq on March 7, 2017 in Antalya, Turkey. AFP

Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar met with Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Albanian capital of Tirana on Saturday and discussed developments in Syria and Iraq.

During the meeting on the sidelines of the annual meeting of NATO’s Military Committee, Akar and Dunford discussed developments in Syria and Iraq, including a planned independence referendum in northern Iraq and the setting up of de-escalation zones in Syria, CNN Türk reported.

Akar informed Dunford about the agreement on setting up de-escalation zones in four regions of Syria, including the rebel-held Idlib, as well as a joint coordination center, staffed by Russian, Iranian and Turkish officials, to monitor the truce between the Syrian government and moderate opposition groups.

Akar also told Dunford about Turkey’s dissatisfaction with US cooperation with Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Ankara sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organization by both Turkey and US.

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