Turkey to set up Syria security zone after Trump call: Erdogan

 

Turkey to set up Syria security zone after Trump call: Erdogan

Istanbul - Turkey has welcomed Washington's planned withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria.

By AFP

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Published: Tue 15 Jan 2019, 9:43 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Jan 2019, 11:57 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Ankara would set up a 'security zone' in northern Syria suggested by US President Donald Trump.
Erdogan's comments came a day after he held a telephone call with Trump in a bid to ease tensions after the US leader threatened to 'devastate' the Turkish economy if Ankara attacks Kurdish forces.
Turkey has welcomed Washington's planned withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria but the future of US-backed Kurdish militia forces labelled terrorists by Ankara has poisoned ties between the Nato allies.
Erdogan said he held a 'quite positive' telephone conversation with Trump late on Monday where he reaffirmed that "a 20-mile (30 kilometre) security zone along the Syrian border... will be set up by us."
Trump tweeted the US would "devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds", a threat that drew angry retorts from Ankara.
The Turkish army has launched two major operations in Syria dubbed "Euphrates Shield" in 2016 and "Olive Branch" in 2018 to combat against Syrian Kurdish fighters as well as Daesh militants.
But the last offensive sought to roll back gains by Syrian Kurdish fighters who have governed parts of northern Syria since 2012.
The deployment of Turkish troops and their proxy forces in areas of northwest Syria has drawn accusations by some critics of a Turkish military occupation.
Erdogan dismissed the label and said: "Comparing Turkey's presence in Syria with that of any other state or power is an insult to both history and our civilisation.
"If we did not have a presence there, if we turned our back on what is going on over there, closed our borders and our hearts to people coming from there, then we would have betrayed ourselves, indeed."


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