Erdogan: Discussed with Putin Elections in N. Syria, Damascus Won’t Allow Them

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks on during a family photograph with G7 heads of States and heads of delegation of Outreach countries at Borgo Egnazia resort during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy, in Savelletri, on June 14, 2024. (AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks on during a family photograph with G7 heads of States and heads of delegation of Outreach countries at Borgo Egnazia resort during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy, in Savelletri, on June 14, 2024. (AFP)
TT

Erdogan: Discussed with Putin Elections in N. Syria, Damascus Won’t Allow Them

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks on during a family photograph with G7 heads of States and heads of delegation of Outreach countries at Borgo Egnazia resort during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy, in Savelletri, on June 14, 2024. (AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks on during a family photograph with G7 heads of States and heads of delegation of Outreach countries at Borgo Egnazia resort during the G7 Summit hosted by Italy, in Savelletri, on June 14, 2024. (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed on Saturday that he had discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin elections that are set for regions held by the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria.

Speaking to reporters during his return from visits to Spain and Italy, he said: “There are no elections there... a game is being played to give legitimacy to a terrorist organization.” He was referring to the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the SDF and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“Our previous operations have demonstrated our skill in breaking games,” added Erdogan.

“There is no doubt that the Syrian administration in Damascus will not grant them permission to hold the elections or take steps in that direction,” he went on say.

He added that Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan had discussed this issue with Putin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

“We hope the separatist terrorist PKK and other groups won’t be able to operate freely in Syria,” stressed Erdogan.

Moreover, he warned that Türkiye was ready to “amass all of its forces when needed” should the elections be held.

“We will not allow the terrorists to claim a foothold right under our nose. We will not hesitate to do what is necessary about this,” he vowed.

The Kurdish autonomous authorities in northeastern Syria will hold elections on August 8. They were postponed from June 11 at the request of some parties.

Ankara has repeatedly threatened to carry out a new military operation in northern Syria to prevent the elections from being held. It has also repeatedly demanded that the poll be cancelled.

The United States, which backs the SDF, has said conditions are not right to hold free and transparent elections.

In an address to the Turkish people on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, Erdogan said Türkiye was determined to fight terrorism and the PKK, which has undermined the security of the country for over 40 years.

“We will not allow it to become a source of threat to the southern borders,” he declared.

Also on Saturday, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced that nine members of the YPG were “eliminated” in northern and northeastern Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, revealed that Turkish forces were establishing a new “defensive line” stretching from Turkish-Russian de-escalation zones in the eastern Idlib countryside and spanning some 20 towns and villages.

The rights monitor said the Turkish forces were digging trenches and setting up barricades to protect main roads and supply routes in anticipation of any military escalation.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
TT

Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.