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January 25, 2019 9:24 am

Turkey’s Erdogan Seeks Syria ‘Safe Zone’ in Place Within Months

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the presidential palace in Ankara. Photo: Reuters / Kayhan Ozer.

Turkey expects a “safe zone” to be set up in Syria along the Turkish border within a few months, otherwise it will establish the zone alone, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Erdogan previously said he and US President Donald Trump had discussed Turkey setting up a 20-mile-deep safe zone in Syria along the border, after Trump’s decision to withdraw all 2,000 US troops from Syria.

In a speech in the eastern province of Erzurum, Erdogan said the zone should be “aimed at protecting our country from terrorists, not protect terrorists right beside our border” and should be established within a few months.

“Otherwise, we will definitely form this safe or buffer zone ourselves. Our only expectation from our allies is that they provide logistical support to Turkey’s effort,” he added.

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The area along the border is controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as a terrorist group but which has been a key ally of the United States in its fight against Islamic State.

Erdogan said a 1998 agreement with Syria allowed Turkey to enter Syrian territory when it faces threats.

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