Turkey plans presence across northeast Syria, Erdogan says
Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, insisting that a planned “safe zone” will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal, Trend reports citing Reuters.
Less than 24 hours after he agreed the five-day truce to allow Kurdish forces time to pull back from Turkey’s crossborder assault, Erdogan underlined Ankara’s continued ambition to establish a presence along 300 miles of territory inside Syria.
On the border itself shelling could be heard near the Syrian town of Ras al Ain on Friday morning despite Thursday’s deal, and a spokesman for the Kurdish-led forces said Turkey was violating the ceasefire, hitting civilian targets in the town.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he had spoken with Erdogan who told him there had been some “minor” sniper and mortar fire in northeastern Syria despite the truce, but that it had been quickly eliminated.
“He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work,” Trump said in a post on Twitter. “Likewise, the Kurds want it, and the ultimate solution, to happen.”