ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and Russia will talk about the removing of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia from the northern Syrian cities of Manbij and Kobani throughout talks in Sochi subsequent week, Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu mentioned on Sunday.
A Turkey-backed Syrian insurgent fighter walks close to Ras al Ain City, Syria October 19, 2019. REUTERS/Aboud Hamam
Turkey paused its army offensive into northeastern Syria after President Tayyip Erdogan agreed on Thursday, in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, a five-day ceasefire to permit the YPG to withdraw from a “secure zone” Ankara goals to determine close to its border.
The truce can be aimed toward easing a disaster triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt choice this month to withdraw all 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria, a transfer criticized in Washington and elsewhere as a betrayal of Kurdish allies who had fought for years alongside U.S. troops in opposition to Islamic State.
However Trump’s transfer additionally means the extent of Turkey’s ambitions within the area is prone to be decided by Russia and Iran, who each help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and want to fill the vacuum created by the U.S. retreat.
Assad has already deployed his forces in territory previously protected by Washington, invited by the Kurds. Erdogan, who has backed rebels combating to oust Assad, has mentioned Turkey has no drawback with Syrian authorities forces deploying close to the border.
Talking at an interview with broadcaster Kanal 7 on Sunday, Cavusoglu mentioned pressing talks between Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin could be held subsequent week.
“We’ll talk about the removing of the YPG terrorists from our borders, specifically Manbij and Kobani, with the Russians,” Cavusoglu mentioned.
“We consider we will attain an settlement with them to work collectively sooner or later, identical to we have now earlier than.”
Ankara regards the YPG, the primary part of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as a terrorist group due to its hyperlinks to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey. The YPG has been a detailed U.S. ally within the struggle in opposition to Islamic State.
The SDF and Damascus struck a deal this month to counter the Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria, prompting Syrian military forces to deploy in Manbij and Kobani, cities of strategic significance given their location on the Syrian border with Turkey.
Whereas Erdogan and Putin have cast shut ties over protection and power cooperation, Moscow has mentioned the Turkish offensive into Syria was “unacceptable” and needs to be restricted.
Erdogan on Saturday mentioned he would additionally talk about Syrian military deployment in northern Syria with Putin, saying the 2 wanted to discover a resolution to the matter. However he warned that “we are going to proceed to implement our personal plans” if an answer couldn’t be reached, with out elaborating.
Russian officers had spoken to Assad on Friday about the necessity to de-escalate the state of affairs in northeast Syria, Russia’s overseas ministry mentioned on Saturday.
The shock deal to droop Turkey’s army offensive in Syria hinged on Erdogan’s demand that Washington agrees on a time restrict on any ceasefire, a senior Turkish official instructed Reuters on Friday.
The deal goals to stem a humanitarian disaster that has displaced 200,000 civilians within the area and on the identical time ease safety considerations over hundreds of Islamic State captives guarded by the YPG.
Although the delicate truce held for the primary two days of the settlement, Turkey’s protection ministry mentioned on Sunday that one Turkish soldier was killed and one other was wounded after a YPG assault with anti-tank and lightweight arms hit troopers on a reconnaissance and surveillance mission in northeast Syria’s Tel Abyad.
It mentioned Turkish forces had responded to the assault and that 20 acts violating the deal have been dedicated by the YPG for the reason that begin of the truce.
A separate assertion from the ministry late on Saturday mentioned convoy of 39 autos had entered and exited the border city of Ras al Ain to evacuate injured individuals.
On Friday the Kurdish militia accused Turkey of violating the five-day pause by shelling civilian areas within the northeast. A senior Turkish official denied the accusations and mentioned they have been an try to sabotage the truce.
Nevertheless, Erdogan warned on Saturday that Turkey would resume the offensive and “crush the heads of terrorists” if the settlement faltered, with Turkey insisting it’s Washington’s obligation to make sure the withdrawal of the YPG.
Cavusoglu reiterated that warning on Saturday, saying the offensive would proceed if U.S. guarantees weren’t stored. He mentioned Turkey didn’t need to see “a single terrorist” left within the “secure zone” by the tip of the 5 days.
Turkey’s protection ministry mentioned late on Saturday that it was monitoring the withdrawal of the YPG and was in shut contact with U.S. officers to supply logistical info.
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Modifying by Jane Merriman and David Goodman