By Andac Hongur
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey's presidential spokesman on Saturday received U.S. Syria envoy James Jeffrey and U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield in Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, according to a statement released after the meeting.
Ibrahim Kalin’s closed-door meeting with the top U.S. officials lasted for 90 minutes and they discussed the recent developments in Syria, as well as details of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's upcoming visit to the U.S.
Earlier, Erdogan confirmed he will pay a visit to the U.S. on Nov. 13.
The safe zone in northern Syria, the latest situation in Syria's Idlib, the progress in the Syrian political solution process and the work of the Constitutional Committee were also discussed during the meeting, the statement added.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate the terrorist YPG/PKK from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
The officials also stressed the importance of the Constitutional Committee to ensure transparent, fair and free elections in Syria.
The Constitutional Committee is mandated under the UN-facilitated Geneva process to prepare and draft constitutional reforms toward a political settlement in Syria. Its first round of meetings began on Oct. 30 with the participation of 150 members; it will resume in Geneva on Nov. 25.
The parties also underlined that the cooperation with the U.S. on Syria's safe zone reached on Oct. 17 should be fostered in line with the agreement reached, it added.
The U.S. and Turkey on Oct. 17 came to an agreement to pause Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria for 120 hours in order to allow the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone.
On Oct. 22, Turkey and Russia reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists would pull back 30 km (18.6 mi) south of Turkey’s border with Syria, and security forces from Turkey and Russia would mount joint patrols there.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev