Erdogan talks Syria with Putin and issues warning to Kurds
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to discuss the situation in northeastern Syria, where Russian forces have been deployed to prevent a confrontation between Syrian troops and Turkish troops. The latter moved into the territory after US President Trump decided to withdraw US forces from the region earlier this month.
Last week, US Vice President Mike Pence managed to get Erdogan to agree to a five-day cease-fire, although the latter called it a mere “pause.” Before the meeting, Erdogan warned that “today is the last day for all terrorists in the region to leave,” thereby referring to Kurdish forces stationed in the area. While Turkey claims that its campaign in Syria aims to fight terrorism in the region and to create a “safe zone,” the main target seems to be the Kurdish-led SDF, a US ally that was instrumental in defeating Islamic State in Syria earlier this year. Experts have been warning that the US withdrawal is likely to play into the hands of major US adversaries including Assad, Russia, Iran and the Islamic State.