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Erdogan, Putin Discuss Turkish Deployment in Syria’s Idlib

Erdogan, Putin Discuss Turkish Deployment in Syria’s Idlib

Sunday, 22 October, 2017 - 09:45
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan attend a news conference following their talks in Sochi, Russia, May 3, 2017. (Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks on Friday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the latest developments in Syria and the upcoming Astana peace talks.

During a telephone call to Putin, Erdogan informed him of the developments linked to Turkish troop deployment in the de-escalation zone in Idlib, said sources from the Turkish presidency.

The two officials agreed to continue close cooperation and coordination between Ankara and Moscow over regional issues.

Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli stressed that his country’s launch of an operation in the Idlib province is aimed at countering the imminent terrorist dangers against Turkey.

He explained that the threat of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) against Turkey still stands.

“We will not rest until it is removed,” he vowed.

Furthermore, Canikli strongly condemned the United States’ equipping of Kurdish organizations in Syria with modern weapons and gear, wondering why this armament has continued even after the majority of Iraqi and Syrian territories have been liberated from the ISIS terrorist group.

Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar stressed on Friday that Ankara has taken all necessary measures to confront any threat to its security in wake of the developments in Syria and Iraq.

He stated that Turkish operations in Idlib in northwest Syria will continue in order to oversee the ceasefire and cement stability and security in the region.

In its continued criticism of the US, Ankara condemned the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) raising of a poster of Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Ocalan in Syria’s Raqqa city after it was liberated from ISIS.

A Turkish government spokesman said that “terrorists” have announced their presence in Raqqa by raising that poster.

He also noted that the development refutes US assertions that there were no terrorists in the city.

He also spoke of a “terrorist belt” that will be formed from northern Syria to the Mediterranean, which poses a major threat to Turkey.

Commenting on Ocalan’s poster being raised in Raqqa, the US embassy in Ankara said that the PKK leader is “not worthy of respect.”

"We have been clear that the liberation of Raqqa is an accomplishment for all Syrians and we expect all parties to avoid actions that would be seen as offensive or create tensions," it added in a statement.

"The United States Government works closely with Turkey to fight terrorism and increase regional stability. The PKK is a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and Ocalan is in prison in Turkey for acts of terrorism as part of the PKK. He does not merit veneration," the embassy said on Saturday.

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