April 1, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Erdogan calls on Putin to ‘cleanse’ of Kurdish forces in northern Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a telephone interview on Sunday of the need to “cleanse” Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

“It is very important and a priority to clear the border of terrorists at least 30 km deep according to the Sochi 2019 memorandum,” Erdogan said, addressing the Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria. To a statement from the Turkish Presidency.

Turkey’s head of state has been threatening since November to launch a ground military operation in northern Syria to repel YPG fighters, whom Ankara blames for being behind an attack in Istanbul on November 13 that killed six people.

Kurdish forces have denied involvement.

In 2019, an agreement between Ankara and Moscow ended another Turkish offensive, promising to create a 30 km “safe zone” to protect Turkey from attacks from Syrian territory.

An agreement with similar terms was reached separately between Ankara and Washington in 2019.

Turkey criticizes Russia, as well as the United States, for not honoring these agreements and for failing to remove the YPG from Turkey’s border.

Turkey launched a series of airstrikes on November 20 against positions of Kurdish fighters it describes as “terrorists” in northeastern Syria.

A few hundred troops from the international coalition have been deployed in the region by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, dominated by the Kurds), who are leading the fight against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) in 2019, driven from strongholds in Syria. .

Both Moscow and Washington have declared their opposition to Turkish ground incursions into northern Syria.

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