Ankara- The top generals from Turkey, US and Russia have met to discuss developments in Syria and Iraq to prevent “the risk of a conflict” during their fight against ISIS.
Hulusi Akar, Turkish chief of staff; Joseph Dunford, US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff; and Valery Gerasimov, Russian chief of general staff, met on Tuesday in the southern Turkish city of Antalya.
The unannounced meeting came amid rising tensions in northern Syria where Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters, US-backed Kurdish-led forces and Russian-allied Syrian troops are fighting their way towards Raqqa, the de-facto capital of ISIS.
“There is a need for an effective coordination in the efforts to clear Syria of all terror groups because so many countries are involved there,” Binali Yildirim, the Turkish Prime Minister said.
“If we cannot establish coordination the risk of a conflict that we would not desire can emerge. That’s the real aim of the meeting,” he added.
Turkey views the Kurdish group that dominates the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) as “terrorists” and has threatened to drive them from the northern city of Manbij, which the SDF captured from ISIS last year with the aid of US air strikes.
Last week, the US-backed group struck a deal with Russia to turn over up to 20 villages west of Manbij to the Syrian Army, creating a buffer zone between the Kurdish-dominated militia and the Turks.
While implementation of the deal has been delayed, around five villages were handed over on Monday.
On the other hand, the Agency of Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey (AFAD) is planning to build a city north of al-Bab city, to embrace the people of the region, Turkish media reported.
AFAD said that the city’s construction will take six months and will be composed of 11,500 apartments as well as schools, hospitals, mosques and shops.
The city will be created in the “Ndah” zone north of al-Bab and will expand to nearly 80 thousand people.