Tillerson says U.S. has no intention to build border force in Syria

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 17, 2018 11:25 PM

ABOARD U.S. GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday denied that the United States had any intention to build a Syria-Turkey border force, saying the issue, which has incensed Ankara, had been "misportrayed."

Turkey has reacted angrily and warned of an imminent incursion into Syria's Afrin district after Washington said it would help Syrian Democratic Forces led by Kurdish YPG militias to set up a new 30,000 strong border force.

On Wednesday, Turkey said it would not hesitate to take action in Afrin district and other regions across the border in Syria unless the United States withdrew support for the force.

Tillerson told reporters he had met Turkey's foreign minister in Vancouver on Tuesday to clarify the issue.

"That entire situation has been misportrayed, misdescribed. Some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all," he said aboard his aircraft taking him back to Washington from Canada, where he hosted a meeting on North Korea.

"I think it’s unfortunate that comments made by some left that impression. That is not what we’re doing."

(Editing by Robert Birsel)