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Erdogan says US carries on joint patrolling in Syria with Kurdish forces

The Turkish leader will decide on his visit to the US after a phone call with Trump

MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Tuesday that the US continues to patrol the Syrian territory along with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG ) in violation of the previously reached agreements with Turkey, the Anadolu agency reports.

"Unfortunately, the Americans are carrying out some kind of joint patrolling with the YPG, although in accordance with the Turkish-US agreements, these fighters should have left northeastern Syria," Erdogan noted.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units have not left the Syrian cities of Manbij and Tell Rifaat, Recep Tayyip Erdogan added. "Terrorists remain in the cities of Manbij and Tell Rifaat," the NTV channel quotes the president as saying.

The withdrawal of Kurdish formations from Manbij and Tell Rifaat, located in the security zone that Ankara is trying to establish, forms part of the agreements between Turkey and Russia and Turkey and the US on Syria.

Erdogan's visit to US

The Turkish leader stated that he will decide on his visit to the US after a phone call with US President Donald Trump. 

"Before my trip, we will hold talks over the phone. On the outcomes of the talks, we will decide whether I should visit or not," he stressed.

Erdogan’s visit to the US is tentatively planned for November 13. According to the Sabah newspaper, Erdogan may cancel his plans after the US House of Representatives officially recognized the Armenian genocide in the Osman Empire. The upcoming meeting is also undermined by the US bill on sanctions against Turkey in the wake of its military operation in Syria.

On October 9, Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria, codenaming it Operation Peace Spring, with the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army carrying it out. Erdogan’s military campaign kicked off with airstrikes on the positions of the previously US-backed Kurdish units. The Erdogan government claimed that its goal is to clear the border area of what it calls ‘terrorists’ (Turkey’s broad label of the Kurdish forces) and establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world. The Syrian SANA news agency branded the operation as an act of aggression, while the international community condemned Erdogan’s military operation.

On October 17, the US reached a deal with Turkey to pause Operation Peace Spring. Turkey consented to a 120-hour ceasefire so that Kurdish units making up the coalition of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could leave the areas of the border security zone that Ankara is attempting to create. The ceasefire ran out on October 22.

On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum on joint actions in northeastern Syria. According to the document, as of noon October 23, Russian military police and Syrian border guards started to monitor the withdrawal of Kurdish military formations to the depth of 30 km from the border. On the outcomes of the agreement, Ankara stated that it had suspended its large-scale military operation in the area. However, Turkey retains control over the territories where it plans to relocate Syrian refugees in the future.

The deadline for the Kurdish forces to withdraw expired on October 29. Turkey and Russia began joint patrolling in northeastern Syria on Friday.