Turkish, US leaders discuss planned safe zone in Syria

ANKARA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump spoke over phone on Friday and discussed the safe zone to be established east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.

“I hope Turkey-U.S. joint efforts will continue for peace, prosperity and stability of our region,” Erdogan said in a Twitter post.

Turkey and the U.S. came to an agreement Thursday to pause Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

During their conversation, Erdogan said he shared his pleasure on mutual steps the two countries took to strengthen the bilateral relations.

Turkey paused its Operation Peace Spring for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone.

Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also agreed on Turkey having 20 miles (32 kilometers) of safe zone south of the Turkish border in Syria.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG/PKK.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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