“We welcome initiatives to try to find a peaceful solution [in northern Syria],” the Sec-Gen told a round table meeting with a group of female journalists to mark International Women’s Day at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
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“We have provided support as we have a training mission in Iraq and we have provided support with our AWACS [airborne warning and control system] planes to the air operations.”
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country is exerting efforts to finding a political solution in Syria along with the ceasefire.
US envoy to Syria James Jeffrey met in Ankara with Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister for Middle East Affairs Sedat Onal and Turkish military officials to discuss the upcoming US withdrawal from Syria and the implementation of the roadmap in Manbij and the safe zone.
Jeffrey’s talks followed meetings of the Combined Joint Task Force, formed as part of bilateral talks to coordinate the withdrawal of US troops, in Ankara from February 28 to March 1. The meetings discussed plans to pull out US forces from areas East of the Euphrates, and Manbij as well as details of the safe zone.
In other news, Turkish authorities reopened the Oncupinar border gate in the southeastern province of Kilis, near the Syrian border, after an eight-year hiatus.
Turkish trucks are now able to cross directly into Syrian territory after showing relevant travel documents to custom officials.
The border crossing was closed when Syria’s civil war broke out in 2011, compelling Turkish trucks to stop at the gate and transfer their goods to Syrian lorries.
Serdar Tohumcu, a truck driver, said the gate’s reopening cut travel time.
In related news, Trade Mnister Ruhsar Pekcan indicated that the “Olive Branch” border gate will become operational next week.
Pekcan announced that an additional crossing will be opened in the southeastern province of Hatay.
“Olive Branch” is named after Turkey’s military operation launched last year.
Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch” operations in northern Syria have cleared several regions from the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
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