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Rudaw

Syria

Turkey, Russia have 'no problems' with northern Syria safe zone: Erdogan

By Rudaw 23/1/2019
 Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan leave after a joint press conference following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 23, 2019. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan leave after a joint press conference following their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on January 23, 2019. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey and Russia have no disagreement over the proposed safe zone in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“With Russia we have no problems on this issue, as the regions will be liberated from terrorists, as happened in the wake of the Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations,” Erdogan told reporters in a joint news conference with Putin. 

Erdogan and US President Donald Trump are both backing the creation of a “safe zone” that would push 32-kilometre deep into Syria along the length of the border with Turkey. Neither side has released details on what exactly that zone would look like, who would secure it, and what would become of the Kurdish forces and people who live there. 

Turkey considers the Kurdish forces, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a branch of the PKK. 

Erdogan said the zone would be “cleansed of terrorists,” but did not give any more detail. He said defence and intelligence ministers are still deliberating. 

Putin noted that a 1998 agreement between Turkey and Syria is still valid. He was referring to the Adana agreement that saw Damascus shut down the PKK in Syria and expel the group’s founder Abdullah Ocalan, who was captured a year later and is now being held on Turkey’s island Imrali prison. 

Under the agreement, Damascus said it would not permit the PKK to operate within its borders. 

The YPG and the Kurdish administration in northern Syria have founded their self-autonomous administration on the political ideals espoused by Ocalan. They maintain, however, that they are a distinct organization from the PKK. 

The United States armed the YPG in the war against ISIS and said it was not a terror group. 

The US is now pulling out of Syria – a process expected to take place over the next few months. 

Erdogan said on Wednesday it is important that “terror groups” are not allowed to benefit from any power vacuum that might result. 

The Kurdish administration is in talks with both Damascus and Moscow about its future. The Kurds are hoping to reach a deal with the Syrian regime that would see them maintain a level of autonomy and its armed forces, while gaining protection from the government against Turkish military threats. 

Putin, who has propped up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said he supports dialogue between Damascus and the Kurds. Such talks will benefit Syria and neighbouring states, he said. 

He said that the US pulling out of the country – where it is without the authorization of Damascus or under a UN mandate – is a “positive step.”

“In case those steps, those plans are really implemented, it will become a positive step and will help stabilize the situation in that troubled area of the Syrian state that is currently controlled by Kurdish units,” he said. 

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Frenchman | 23/1/2019
Turkey`s definitions for "safe zone” is totally different from that of the US.. erDog is under illusion ....my advice for erDog , the Kurds are too many to control , go out of Kurdish land , then you have peace .
German boy | 23/1/2019
Kurdistan would be free long time ago , if it was located in Europe , but unfortunately it is located between 3 animal like nations , Turks and Arabs and the lunatics in Iran ....all of whom are muslim , and so much behind to compare with us...
Ashty | 23/1/2019
The Russians seem to have forgotten their own history, never trust Turks. Selling Kurdish intetrest to Turkey to make a deal on Idlib didn't work the first time and will not work this time. What happened to the first deal when the Turks agreed to "take care" of Al-Qaeda in Idlib in exchange for invading Afrin? did they keep their end of the agreement? NO, Al-Qaeda is stronger than ever in Idlib. The Turks cannot and will not deliver
Danger | 23/1/2019
I think the Russians are screwing both Kurds and Assad over. Kurds and Assad should immediately hold direct talks and not go through Moscow because Moscow is playing a bigger game with Syrian/Kurdish territory with Turkey and Iran. They're giving away Syrian territory like it was candy, mark my words Turkey will never leave those areas they take peacfully.
Hamme | 23/1/2019
What the hell is this!? on one hand the Russians are saying they want the Kurdish territory area to come under Syrian governments control and are holding talks between PYD and the Syrian government, but on the other hand making dirty deals with Erdogan! So which is it?? how do we know that they're not making unrealistic demands on PYD so that PYD refuse the deal so that Turkey can invade again? isn't that what they did in Afrin? they fooled the Kurds!
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