17:06 GMT06 March 2021
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that any safe zone on the border with Syria must be under Turkish control.

    “If there is to be a safe zone along our border then it must be under our control. Because that is my border", Erdogan told CNN Turk.

    The news come amid reports of US plans to leave roughly 400 troops in Syria after the scheduled pullout announced by US President Donald Trump in December. About 200 troops will be located in northeastern Syria in addition to another 200 personnel near the Jordanian border, The Washington Post reported on Friday, citing a senior official. 

    READ MORE: US to Leave 400 Troops in Syria, European Allies Up to 1,500 — Report

    The 200 troops deployed in the northeast of the Arab Republic will reportedly be part of a larger contingent, joining Washington's European allies to set up a safe zone. The latter's contribution will number around 800-1,500 soldiers.

    Turkey and the US are engaged in negotiations regarding the future of military activities in Syria. The recent discussions held by Pentagon officials and Turkish Defence chiefs were centred around Turkey’s concerns over US support for the Kurdish-led forces in northeastern Syria, where the proposed safe zone is to be established.

    Ankara regards the Kurdish YPG militia that controls northeastern Syria as a terrorist group affiliated with Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its People's Defence Forces (HPG). Both groups are outlawed on Turkish territory, and Ankara launched a military campaign along its border with Syria to try to prevent the groups from operating in the area or coordinating with each other. Earlier on Tuesday Erdogan blasted Turkey's NATO allies over their support for the YPG, noting that Turkey has a 911-kilometre (566 mile) border with Syria that could be “under threat at any moment".


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    safe zones, control, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria
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