07:19 GMT +313 November 2019
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    A Russian military police armored vehicles are pictured in the Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobani, Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan Claims Militants Refused to Leave Safe Zone in Northern Syria

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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to discuss the implementation of a Russian-Turkish memorandum on Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    "The 150 hours set by the agreement with Russia have come to an end, but the terrorists have not withdrawn from the area. They still conduct attacks, and the [opposition] Free Syrian Army responds. They have 11 dead today. Should we be silent? Of course, we will respond, and we will complete this successfully ... I intend to discuss this problem with Putin", Erdogan told reporters on Thursday.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the statement, noted there is no scheduled meeting at the moment, but phone conversations can be coordinated at any time.

    Moscow and Ankara agreed that Russian military police and Syrian border guards should be conducting joint ground patrols and watch over the withdrawal of Kurdish militias from the border area.

    Earlier this week, the Turkish President accused the United States of failing to control the pullout of the militants from the border, claiming that the American forces and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had established joint patrols in the security zone in northern Syria, in violation of US-Turkish arrangements.

    A Kurdish fighter of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) watches a convoy of US armoured vehicles during a patrol of the northeastern town of Qahtaniyah at the border with Turkey, on October 31, 2019
    © AFP 2019 / DELIL SOULEIMAN
    A Kurdish fighter of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) watches a convoy of US armoured vehicles during a patrol of the northeastern town of Qahtaniyah at the border with Turkey, on October 31, 2019

    Escalation of the Conflict

    Ankara launched Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria to clear the area of the Daesh* terrorist group, and the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Turkey also considers to be terrorists due to their alleged links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), banned in the country.

    The offensive has caused a major backlash, with European countries halting arms sales to Ankara, while Washington introduced sanctions against its NATO ally.

    Turkey refused to stop the op. However, after negotiations, led by US Vice President Mike Pence, the Turkish government announced a 5-day ceasefire, which became permanent after Erdogan signed the memorandum with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on de-escalation in northern Syria.

    Tags:
    Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Russia, Syria
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