Politics 10:52 17/10/2019 Region

Turkey's military operation in Syria: Trump tells Erdogan he will be 'remembered as a devil'

Heavy fighting continues as Turkey presses on with its military operation, now in its eighth day, against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the military action aims to remove the Kurdish-led forces from the border area and create a "safe zone" to which millions of Syrian refugees can be returned, Al Jazeera reported.

The latest updates

Pompeo to visit Jerusalem and Brussels after Turkey

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Jerusalem and Brussels after his visit to Turkey on Thursday with Vice President Mike Pence, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Pompeo will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Friday and then travel later that day to Brussels for a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the statement said.

Pence and Pompeo are going to Turkey's capital Ankara to urge Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to stop his invasion of Syria.

Trump tells Erdogan he will be 'remembered as a devil' over Syria offensive

On the day Turkey launched its offensive in northeast Syria, Trump wrote to Erdogan saying the Turkish president would be remembered as a "devil" if he moved ahead with the military action.

Trump started his October 9 letter suggesting they could "work out a good deal".

"You don't want to be responsible for the slaughtering of thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy," he wrote.

"Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!" he said, adding that the SDF's commander was willing to negotiate.

Democrats walk out of briefing with Trump on Turkey

Trump met members of Congress at the White House on Wednesday to discuss Turkey and Syria.

Democrats say Trump insulted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling her a "third-rate politician." Democratic leaders left shortly afterwards.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is trying to pin the blame on Pelosi, saying she stormed out of the meeting.

Erdogan to visit Russia

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said the Turkish leader will travel to Sochi, Russia for talks over Turkey's military offensive northeast Syria on October 22.

Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Erdogan during a call between the two leaders on Tuesday, amid pressure on Turkey to halt its incursion.

Russia moved quickly to fill the void left by the US troops' withdrawal from northern Syria, deploying its military to act as a buffer as Syrian government forces moved north under a deal with the Syrian Kurdish forces.

US-led coalition forces out of Raqqa and Tabqah

Along with leaving Raqqa and Tabqah, the US-led coalition said its forces had also left the Lafarge cement factory as part of Washington's decision to withdraw troops from northeast Syria.

"Coalition forces continue a deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria. On October 16, we vacated the Lafarge Cement Factory, Raqqa, and Tabqah," coalition spokesman Colonel Myles B. Caggins said on Twitter.

Trump: PKK might be 'more of a terrorist threat' than ISIL

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long armed campaign against Ankara, were "probably" a bigger "terrorist threat" than ISIL.

UN Security Council voices concerns over 'dispersion' of ISIL fighters

The UN Security Council adopted a unanimous statement warning of the risk of a "dispersion" of ISIL fighters in Syria's northeastern region.

The 15-member body agreed on the brief statement after meeting for the second time behind closed doors since the start of the Turkish operation. The statement made no reference to Turkey's actions.

Syrian troops enter Kobani

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a resident told the Associated Press news agency that Syrian troops had entered the northern town, where Kurdish and US forces first defeated Islamic State group militants together 4 years ago.

The move comes as part of a deal Kurds struck with the Syrian government for protection from Turkey following the US troop withdrawal from the region. 

Iraqi President Barham Saleh meets with US diplomat

Saleh focused on ways of preventing Islamic militants from taking advantage of the chaos to rise again during the meeting with David Schenker, US, assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs.

A statement by Saleh's office said the two discussed ways of supporting Iraq to preserve its security "amid the current challenges".

Trump: Kurds 'are not angels'

Trump disparaged the Kurds, saying the US allies in the war against ISIL in Syria "are not angels".

Trump, who has come under intense criticism for abandoning the Kurds in the face of a Turkish offensive in northern Syria, told reporters at the White House that "The Kurds are very well protected".
Trump on Turkey going into Syria: 'It's not our problem'

Trump again tried to distance himself and the US from the Syria crisis, telling reporters asking about Turkey attacking into Syria, 'It's not our problem."

Turkey says it will retaliate against US sanctions

Turkey will retaliate against US sanctions over Ankara's military operation into northeast Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding that all threats and sanctions against Turkey were unacceptable.

Speaking in parliament, Cavusoglu also said Turkey expected the US Congress to turn back from its "damaging approach", and added that ties between Ankara and Washington were at a critical juncture.

He said he would convey this to a US delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence coming to Ankara.

Erdogan says won't meet US delegation

Erdogan said he would not meet a US delegation visiting Ankara to discuss Turkey's military operation in Syria.

"I am standing tall. I will not meet with them," he told Sky News.

"They will meet with their counterparts. I will speak when Trump comes," he said.

Turkey's mission will end once Kurdish forces leave: Erdogan

Erdogan said Turkey's operation will end when Ankara completes its goal to form a "safe zone" from Syria's Manbij to the border with Iraq.

"We informed the US, EU and Russia before the operation began that ... we want this terrorist organisation to be removed from our borders," he said at a weekly meeting of his ruling AK Party, referring to the YPG.

"When the zone from Manbij to Iraq [is cleared] when we could establish a safe zone, this operation will be over. But until that point, no power can stop us."



Source Panorama.am
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