USA will consider Turkey's concerns about PKK: Tillerson

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The Secretary of State also signaled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader us strategy to prevent Daesh terror group's resurgence, pave the way diplomatically for the eventual departure of Bashar al-Assad and curtail Iran's influence.

"We can not allow history to repeat itself in Syria", he said, referring to what he described as mistakes made by the Obama administration in withdrawing USA troops prematurely from Iraq and failing to stabilize Libya after North Atlantic Treaty Organisation airstrikes that led to the ousting of the late President Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. A Stanford senior said he embraces Tillerson's efforts at diplomacy, set against the possibility of military action.

"A murderer of his own people can not generate the trust required for long-term stability", he said.

Tillerson's comments came as Turkey threatened action on the Syrian border against the SDF after the the US -led coalition said Sunday it was working with the Kurdish-led group to set up a 30,000-strong force that would operate along the borders with Turkey and Iraq, as well as within Syria. "A stable, unified, and independent Syria ultimately requires post-Assad leadership in order to be successful".

Tillerson's remarks seemed to signal an indefinite US engagement in Syria.

Syria and Russian Federation made statements in line with Turkey earlier in the week, opposing the reported U.S. plans to establish a border force in the north of Syria. Russian Federation called the plans a plot to dismember Syria and place part of it under US control, and Turkey described the force as a "terror army". Tillerson promised help on the ground - clearing landmines and restoring utilities ravaged by almost seven years of war - and within the United Nations, where Washington would strive to secure a Syrian peace process as well as free elections. It is also not seeking violent "regime change" or contemplating a long-term nation-building mission, he said.

Instead, he argued that the United States role will provide stability to allow a UN-led peace process to resume and find a Syrian-led alternative to Assad's rule and the Iranian presence.

Assad's departure "will create the conditions for a durable peace within Syria and security along the borders for Syria's neighbors", Tillerson added later during a question-and-answer session.

Tillerson said in California he had told Cavusoglu that the US' intention was to train local forces in the fight against remaining ISIL fighters in Syria.

Over the past few years the US has been actively supporting a multi-ethnic group in Syria called the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is mainly made up of the leftist-nationalist Kurdish force YPG, as part of efforts to fight the Islamic State group.

He called for the same mistake to be made again in 2011 when "early withdrawal from Iraq allowed al-Qaeda to survive in this country and mutate, giving life to the Islamic State group".

He said the Trump administration's policy differs from the previous administration in that Tillerson is advocating staying in Syria for a very long time, with 2,000 U.S military personnel and fewer than 20 Foreign Service Officers.

"Responsible change may not come as immediately as some hope for, but rather through an incremental process of constitutional reform and UN-supervised elections".



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