Erdoğan says will meet Russian President Putin on US pullout from Syria

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 25.12.2018 13:23
Updated 25.12.2018 14:35

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he will have a face-to-face meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin regarding U.S. withdrawal from Syria, saying "The U.S. did its part" by announcing their pullout.

A group of Turkish officials will visit Moscow soon and a meeting with Putin will also be scheduled according to developments in their meetings, Erdoğan said.

"We are concerned with U.S. President Donald Trump's statement, not French President Emmanuel Macron's," Erdoğan added, saying that Turkey is trying to maintain a healthy dialogue with the U.S.

On Wednesday, Washington announced it will be withdrawing all of its troops from Syria, following a conversation between Erdoğan and U.S. Trump over an imminent Turkish cross-border operation to eliminate PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) terror group from northern Syria.

It has been reported that the U.S. still has about 2,000 troops in Syria, many of whom are working in close cooperation with the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Following Trump's move, Erdoğan said Friday that Turkey had decided to postpone its cross-border operation into areas controlled by the YPG in eastern Syria for some time.

A mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey's leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria since 2016 — Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch — both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey's borders.

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