U.S. envoy Jeffrey arrives in Turkey to discuss developments in northern Syria

U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement, James Jeffrey, arrived in Turkey on Sunday to discuss the latest developments in northern Syria.

The U.S. Department of State in an official statement on Sunday said Jeffrey was to lead a delegation to continue discussions with senior Turkish officials on issues of mutual interest in Syria, including Ankara's legitimate security concerns and Washington's continued efforts in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).

The U.S. representative will hold talks  withTurkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, as well as several officials from Foreign Ministry, according to London based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Jeffrey's arrival coincides with Turkey's deployment of additional equipment near Syrian border including heavy weapons, armoured vehicles and tanks, signalling the start of a possible assault on the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which forms the backbone of U.S. allied forces in the fight against the Islamic State.

Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group fighting for self-rule in southeast Turkey for more than three decades. 

Ankara and Washington agreed on June 4, 2018, over the Manbij roadmap for the withdrawal of Syrian Kurds from Manbij to the east of the Euphrates and the establishment of a new city council by the local Arabs.

However, Turkey has long been criticising the United States for halting the process and violating the deadline. Ankara had expected the Manbij roadmap to be completed by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, Ankara and Washington have been negotiating the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria along the Turkish border since last year after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly announced withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria, but no concrete steps have been taken so far.