18:16 GMT27 January 2021
Listen Live
    Middle East
    Get short URL

    Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that his forces would "crush the heads" of Syrian Kurdish forces if they did not complete a pullout from the border area.

    Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed Monday that Syrian Kurds have begun leaving the country's safe zones, though they continue to violate a ceasefire regime.

    The minister continued by saying that Turkey will resume its offensive in northern Syria if Kurdish forces, seen as terrorists by Ankara, do not withdraw from the border safe zone within 35 hours.

    "Harassment fire continues, ... and we have retaliated to those harassment fires. We observe that now the YPG-PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] elements start to leave the areas that we are now controlling. We have 35 hours left. If they don't withdraw, our operation will restart," Cavusoglu said in an address at TRT World Forum in Ankara.

    On October 17, US Vice President Mike Pence announced that the United States and Turkey had agreed on halting the Turkish offensive, launched on October 9 and dubbed Peace Spring, for 120 hours for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to leave the area within the 18-mile so-called safe zone, which Ankara intends to control unilaterally. However, both Ankara and Kurds have reported ceasefire violations.

    The decision was made a week after Ankara launched "Operation Peace Spring" shortly after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, stating it aimed to rid its southern border of Kurdish militia which it views as terrorists. The operation immediately drew criticism from the international community, while Damascus called it an occupation. Russia, which supports the Syrian government, called on Turkey to avoid escalation.

    New messages
    • 18:53

      Turkey Briefs Foreign Military Attaches on Operation Peace Spring in Syria

      "The military attaches working in Ankara from 63 countries were informed at the Ministry of Defense about Operation Peace Spring and the current situation in Syria", the Turkish Defence Ministry said in a statement.

    • 18:42

      Three Scenarios of How Kurds, Turkey and Damascus Could Solve Northeast Syria Crisis

      A truck of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). (File)

      Three Scenarios of How Kurds, Turkey and Damascus Could Solve Northeast Syria Crisis

      According to various reports, Kurdish forces have been withdrawing from the 120-kilometre (75 miles) wide and 30-kilometre (20 miles) deep Turkey-proposed "safe zone" in north-eastern Syria. However, the situation on the ground is changing rapidly, international observers say, describing scenarios of further developments in the region.
      Read more
    • 17:48

      Turkish Armed Forces Deny Ankara Used Chemical Weapons in Syria - Reports

      The Turkish Armed Forces have denied that Ankara deployed chemical weapons during its week-long operation in north-eastern Syria, Anadolu Agency reported.

      The Turkish forces do not have any chemical weapons, so there is also no means of disposal or ammunition, the agency quoted Turkish Minister Hulusi Akar as saying.

      The report followed claims circulated last week that Turkish forces had used white phosphorous during its operation in Ras al-Ain, a claim President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vehemently denied.

    • 17:47

      UN Envoy Pedersen Seeks to Ensure Syria Constitutional Panel Meets as Planned - Spokesman

      "Geir and his team are very much focused on the Constitutional Committee and making sure that nothing will derail the meeting that is scheduled for Geneva", United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

    • 16:45

      Putin, Macron Discussed Syria by Phone - Kremlin

      Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation in Syria by phone on Monday, the Kremlin said in a statement Monday.

      "On the initiative of the French side, a telephone conversation took place between Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron," the statement said.

      The leaders discussed the situation in Syria's northeast, expressed an opinion on the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state.

      "Vladimir Putin informed [Macron] about the efforts being made by Russia to stabilize the situation in the region, including facilitating the establishment of contacts between interested parties and ensuring the interests of all ethno-confessional groups," the Kremlin said.

    • 16:01

      US Never Promised to Stay in Syria for '400 Years' to Protect Kurds, Trump Says

      American soldiers walk together during a joint U.S.-Turkey patrol, near Tel Abyad, Syria September 8, 2019

      US Never Promised to Stay in Syria for '400 Years' to Protect Kurds, Trump Says

      Earlier, POTUS faced backlash domestically over his decision to pull troops out from northern Syria, with some politicians arguing that Trump had "betrayed" the US’ Kurdish allies, who previously helped Washington defeat Daesh*
      Read more
    • 15:46

      Berlin Hopes Turkey's Offensive in North Syria Will Not Resume After Ceasefire

      Berlin hopes that Turkey will not resume its military operation in northern Syria after a five-day truce and the parties will start peace negotiations, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated on Monday.

      "The main goal, for now, is to ensure that Turkey will not resume its offensive after a five-day ceasefire and to find a political solution. We are working on the issue through a dialogue with the parties, including Turkey," the minister said at a press conference following talks with his Belarusian counterpart, Vladimir Makei.

      The German minister also reaffirmed his country's position that Turkey's military operation violates international law and, therefore, should be suspended.

      "We told Turkey that we need to do everything we can to find a political solution to the conflict after the termination of the ceasefire. At the same time, we should take into account Turkey's security interests," Maas added.

    • 11:18

      Tehran Hopes for Swift Settlement in North Syria After Truce Announced - Foreign Ministry

      Tehran opposes Turkish military presence in northern Syria and hopes for the swift settlement of the situation now that the ceasefire has been declared in the area, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday.

      "We do not see a solution to the problems in the region through military campaigns and military operations. Contradictions must be resolved peacefully," the spokesman said, adding that Tehran is ready to help facilitate settlement.

      Speaking at a regular briefing, Mousavi said that Turkey has a right to be concerned about its security but underlined that both Ankara and Damascus must act in accordance with the Adana Agreement, signed between the two in 1998.

    • 10:27

      Deadline for US-Turkey Deal on Syria to Expire Tuesday at 19:00 GMT - Reports

    • 09:59

      US Intel Assets Help Monitoring Ceasefire in Syria - Esper

    • 09:56

      Russia Will Back Possibility to Amend Syria-Turkey Adana Pact If Sides Deem Necessary - Lavrov

      Local residents applaud as a convoy of Turkish forces trucks transporting tanks is driven in Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, at the border with Syria

      Russia Will Back Possibility to Amend Syria-Turkey Adana Pact If Sides Deem Necessary - Lavrov

      Earlier in the day, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed that Syrian Kurds had begun leaving the country's safe zones, though they continue to violate a ceasefire regime.
      Read more
    Kurds, safe zones, Syria, Turkey
    Community standardsDiscussion