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Turkish President Tacitly Criticizes US for Supporting Kurdish Forces

Turkish President Tacitly Criticizes US for Supporting Kurdish Forces

Tuesday, 24 September, 2019 - 09:00
US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (File Photo: Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his “tacit” criticism of the United States for supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition, mainly formed by the People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey classifies as a terrorist organization.

Ankara is demanding the expulsion of SDF from eastern Euphrates in northern Syria, as part of a Turkish-US plan to establish a safe zone in areas under the coalition’s control.

Washington continues to provide weapons and equipment to SDF, its closest ally in the war against ISIS.

Erdogan said the US continues to supply arms despite the Democratic Forces’ defeat and the readiness of US troops to leave Syria. He added that Washington repeatedly refuses to provide Turkey with weapons, a reference to Washington's previous rejection to sell Patriot missiles.

A convoy of new US military reinforcements entered northeastern Syria and headed to the bases of the international coalition. It contained dozens of trucks loaded with various vehicles and fuel tanks.

The convoy entered from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, through the Semalka Border Crossing with Syria, accompanied by SDF patrols.

This is the second convoy that enters northeast Syria in September, as four other convoys of military reinforcements entered the region last August, and headed to the bases of the international coalition.

The Syrian Democratic Forces control the eastern Euphrates, Manbij, and Tal Rifaat areas of Aleppo countryside.

On August 7, Turkish and US military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center. A month later, the first joint military patrol marched Tal Abyad area north of al-Raqqa.

On Saturday, Erdogan said he discussed with US President Donald Trump the issue of sending thousands of trucks loaded with ammunition and equipment free of charge to Kurdish forces in the east of Euphrates, under the pretext of fighting ISIS.

He noted that Turkey could not buy those weapons from Washington at their prices.

The Turkish President indicated that his country would establish a safe zone along 422 kilometers of its border with Syria, with a depth of 32 kilometers.

He explained that the depth of the safe zone is important for cleansing it from terrorists and handing it over to its original owners, such as Arabs who make up 85-90 percent of the population there.

The US opposes the establishment of a safe zone at this depth and such area, offering a depth of 5 to 14 kilometers.

It also rejects Turkey’s sole control of the proposed safe area, stressing however that it would work to meet its needs while protecting its Kurdish ally.

Erdogan on Sunday discussed Turkey-US bilateral relations, regional developments and Syria in a phone call with his US counterpart, according to the Turkish Presidency of Communications.

The two leaders are expected to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings.

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