Turkish, US militaries discuss Syria buffer zone

Buffer zone being discussed in country’s north in attempt to create buffer between US-backed Kurds, Turkish border.

ISTANBUL - Turkey and the US began talks on Tuesday to establish a "security zone" in northern Syria aimed at creating a buffer between Kurdish fighters and the Turkish border.

"Military officials from the two countries began, today in Ankara, to work together on a security zone that will be put in place in a coordinated manner in the north of Syria," the Turkish ministry of defence said in a statement.

It said further talks were due in the coming days.

The idea was first mooted by US President Donald Trump in January, in a call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at a moment when Turkey was threatening to launch an offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria.

The US has provided extensive support to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, who have shouldered the brunt of fighting against the Islamic State group.

In recent days, Turkey has renewed threats to attack the YPG, which it sees as a terrorist group with direct ties to Kurdish separatists in Turkey.

It has launched two previous offenses into Syria against IS and the YPG, in 2016 and 2018 respectively.