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Syrian Kurds Reportedly Reject Turkish Safe Zone Agreed With Trump

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On 15 January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he and his American counterpart Donald Trump had reached a "historic understanding" on Syria in their latest phone call.

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) forces said in a Wednesday statement they would help establish a US-proposed "safe zone" in northern and eastern Syria under "international guarantees" and without "foreign intervention", Reuters reported.

READ MORE: Erdogan Says Only Turkey Can Protect US Interests in Syria Amid Troop Pullout

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) patrol a street in the northern Syrian town of Manbij (File) - Sputnik International
Erdogan: Terror Attack in Manbij, Syria May Be Aimed to Influence US Withdrawal
The US-backed Kurdish forces further added they hoped to reach "agreements and solutions" with Turkey in order to secure stability in the border region.

Earlier in the day, AFP cited senior political leader Aldar Khalil as saying that Syrian Kurds had rejected the "security zone" under Turkey's control in northern Syria.

The official said that the Kurds would only accept the deployment of UN forces along the separation line between Kurdish fighters and Turkish troops to prevent an offensive.

"Other choices are unacceptable as they infringe on the sovereignty of Syria and the sovereignty of our autonomous region", Khalil told AFP.

Kurdish people carry flags as they march during a protest in the city of al-Derbasiyah, on the Syrian-Turkish border, against what the protesters said were the operations launched in Turkey by government security forces against the Kurds, February 9, 2016 - Sputnik International
Erdogan's Spokesman Slams US Claims of Turkey Targeting Kurds as 'Irrational'
Following a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Tuesday that Ankara would create a 32-kilometre safe zone in northern Syria. Erdogan's spokesperson later elaborated that the security zone would be controlled by Ankara.

The spokesman further added that the Turkish military would coordinate their actions with locals.

The idea was initially proposed by Trump, who threatened on Twitter to "devastate" Turkey's economy if Ankara attacked US-allied Kurdish forces in Syria.

In response, Turkey said it may "remain hungry, without food and water", but will still fight terrorists.

READ MORE: Outgoing IDF Chief Publicly Admits Arms Supplies to Anti-Assad Forces in Syria

Last month, Donald Trump declared victory over Daesh* in Syria, subsequently announcing the withdrawal of the 2,000 US troops currently deployed in the Mideast country. The president stated that regional countries, including Turkey, would wipe out the remaining terrorists.

Soldiers man a Turkish Army artillery position, as seen from the outskirts of the village of Sugedigi, Turkey, near the border with Syria, background - Sputnik International
Turkey's Erdogan Announces Creation of Safe Zone in Syria Suggested by Trump
Trump, however, stressed that he sought to protect US-allied Kurds while gradually pulling the troops out of the country, with White House National Security Adviser John Bolton calling the protection of Kurdish militia by Ankara a condition for the US withdrawal.

Edogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin hit back, saying it was a "fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its Syrian branch PYD [Kurdish Democratic Union Party]/YPG [Kurdish People's Protection Units]". Ankara considers the YPG to be affiliated with the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey.

*Daesh, also known as IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State, is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.

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