Daily Sabah
June 8, 2022

Turkey urges Russia to fulfill deals to clear N. Syria of terrorists

Turkey expects Russia to fulfill commitments made in Syria against terrorist organizations and abide by agreements signed in 2019, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Wednesday, reiterating Ankara’s call for northern Syria near the Turkish borders to be cleared of [Kurdish groups].

Holding a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the capital Ankara, Çavuşoğlu…stressed the need to eliminate them.

Turkey expects the United States and Russia to fulfill commitments made in Syria….

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[Lavrov] admitted that the two countries have different views on many things, however, “when Russia and Turkey have differences, they respect the positions of each other, this is the key to the achievements in the relations.”

The meeting came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced two weeks ago that Turkey would soon be launching new military operations into northern Syria….

Ankara says it must act because Washington and Moscow failed to keep their promise to push the YPG 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the border after a 2019 Turkish operation….

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also told his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in a call on Tuesday that Turkey would respond to moves aimed at disrupting stability in northern Syria, his office said, as Ankara gears up for talks with Moscow ahead of an expected operation in the region.

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“The importance of continuing close cooperation in Syria aimed at maintaining a long-term stability in the region was noted. Russian-Turkish contacts on these issues will continue,” Moscow said regarding the phone call meeting.

Turkey will do whatever is necessary when the time is right, Akar recently said on a possible military operation in northern Syria.

…Akar said: “Whatever is necessary will be done at the right time and place.”

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“We are taking another step in establishing a 30-kilometer security zone along our southern border. We will clean up Tal Rifaat and Manbij,” he said last week, adding that the planned military operations will gradually continue in other parts of northern Syria.

Erdoğan has said that since the U.S. and Russia have failed to live up to their commitments to provide a safe zone along the border region, Turkey is ready to mount an operation….

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Meanwhile, the U.S.-backed YPG forces said on Tuesday they would coordinate with Syrian regime troops to fend off any Turkish operation in the north and protect Syrian territory.

[W]hile Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization, YPG forces are backed by Washington and have also coordinated with the Syrian regime and its ally Russia.

Turkey has backed opposition groups in clashes against Bashar Assad’s forces and the YPG. It has used warplanes and increasingly drones to target territory held by the YPG….

Syrian opposition forces have also said that they are ready to join the Turkish military in a potential new cross-border…operation against the YPG in the north….

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Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful…operations across its border in northern Syria: : Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).

In 2019, an operation into northeast Syria against the YPG drew widespread international condemnation, prompting Finland, Sweden and others to restrict arms sales to Turkey. Now Turkey is blocking the two Nordic countries’ historic bid to join NATO because of the weapons ban and their support of the…group.

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