US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that it is crucial for the US to maintain an open-ended military and diplomatic presence in Syria, as Turkey's military council vowed to respond immediately to a planned US border force.
In a speech at Stanford University on the way forward in Syria, Tillerson said that the withdrawal of US troops would provide Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with "a golden opportunity" and would help strengthen his position, according to news agencies.
He further claimed that US stabilization efforts in Syria were not a synonym for "open-ended nation building" and "would focus on ensuring Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL' group] could not re-emerge."
Last week the US announced that it will create a 30,000-strong border force with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces to prevent any Daesh resurgence in the Syria-Turkey border area, much to its NATO ally's anger.
According to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Tillerson that the border force would "seriously endanger ties."
On the issue, Turkey's National Security Council [MGK] said in a statement that it would not allow the formation of a "terrorist army" on its borders and would "respond immediately," adding that Kurdish fighters should hand over their weapons.
Tillerson said in his speech that he "hears and takes seriously" the concerns of Ankara.
He also noted that the US would "vigorously support" the UN-led Geneva process and urged Russia to "put new levels of pressure" on al-Assad.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team