Erdogan: ‘US is not fulfilling agreement with Syria’

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

8 Nov 2019; MEMO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that the United States is not fulfilling its obligations in the Syrian deal, i.e. to take Kurdish fighters out of the Turkish-Syrian border region, stressing that he would discuss the matter with President Donald Trump during their meeting next week.

Erdogan will discuss the implementation of the agreement with Trump in Washington on 13 November, following the confirmation of his visit to the United States via a telephone conversation with Trump on Wednesday evening.

A month ago, Turkey and the Syrian opposition forces launched a cross-border attack on People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters. Turkey reached an agreement with the United States to remove the Kurdish fighters from the area, as the Turkish Army took control of an area of ​​120 km.

The Turkish president stated during a press conference before leaving to Hungary: “While we are holding this conference, those who have promised us that the YPG (…) will withdraw within 120 hours from here have not fulfilled their promise,” referring to a deadline set in the agreement last month.

Erdogan added that “clashes in Syria are still taking place, and that 11 fighters from the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army were killed on Thursday.”

He continued: “These gunmen are attacking the Syrian National Army and the Army is reciprocating. 11 martyrs of the Syrian National Army have been killed this morning.”

After sealing the deal with Washington, Ankara also reached another accord with Moscow whereby the YPG would withdraw to a depth of 30 km along Syria’s northeast border with Turkey.

Erdogan also conveyed that the deal was unfulfilled, as the YPG fighters remain on the border, adding that he would hold talks.

According to the bilateral agreements, Ankara halted its offensive in return for the withdrawal of the YPG fighters. Thus, the Joint Turkish and Russian forces have conducted joint patrols near the border to monitor the implementation of the agreement.

Ankara classifies the YPG as a “terrorist” group because of its ties to the insurgents who have been waging a rebellion in southeast Turkey since 1984. The US support for the YPG, a key ally in the war against Daesh, has angered Turkey.

Ankara initiated its offensive against the YPG after Trump announced a surprise withdrawal of 1,000 US soldiers from northern Syria in early October. Since then, Trump has said that several troops will continue to be present in Syria.

Earlier, Turkish officials asserted that Erdogan might cancel his visit to the US, protesting the vote made by the US Congress to recognize the Armenian Genocide a century ago, and seeking sanctions against Turkey.

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