Turkey supports Syria's territorial integrity and is determined to clear terrorists off the region, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Monday, shortly after the U.S. announced that it will withdraw troops from northern Syria.
"Have supported the territorial integrity of #Syria since the beginning of the crisis and will continue to do so," Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter, and added: "Determined to ensure survivability and security of #Turkey by clearing the region from terrorists. Will contribute to bringing safety, peace and stability to Syria."
The White House announced Sunday that the United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and "will no longer be in the immediate area."
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said Monday the planned "safe zone" aims to clear terrorist elements from the border and return refugees safely to Syria within the framework of Syrian territorial integrity.
The statement came hours after a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, during which a November meeting was planned, according to Turkish presidential sources.
Erdoğan and Trump exchanged views on bilateral issues as well as the planned safe zone east of the Euphrates River, said Turkey's Communications Directorate.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.
Turkish leaders have said the U.S. is not doing enough to establish the safe zone, which could house some 2-3 million Syrians who fled the Syrian civil war since 2011.
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