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US holds "high-level" talks with Turks on Syria ahead of Tillerson visit

WASHINGTON, Feb 14 (KUNA) -- Ahead of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Turkey, US officials have held a "series of high-level meetings" with the Turkish government regarding US "concerns" about the escalation of violence in Syria, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday.
Tillerson "has been very clear" with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about "very legitimate security concerns," Nauert said during a briefing.
"We understand that Turkey, our NATO ally, has legitimate security concerns from some operating in parts of Syria," she said. "We would like to be able to speak with them about what would be a solution that would work, not only for them but for those in Syria and the United States and others as well." Last month, Turkey launched a military offensive to oust the Syrian Kurdish YPG from Afrin, Syria, citing national security. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of an insurgency within its own borders. (end) rm.tg