Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that he was not planning to discuss the US intentions to create “border security forces” northern Syria with US President Donald Trump, but would maintain contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I am not planning to call Trump, but contacts with Putin continue,” Erdogan told reporters, when asked a relevant question.
Erdogan also urged NATO to oppose the US plans to create the border force, saying that the military bloc was “obliged” to stand against those powers that “harass and violate the borders of its members.”
The news of the security border forces first emerged on Saturday, when Col. Thomas Veale, the public affairs officer of the US-led coalition, gave an interview to The Defense Post. He said that the coalition was training the SDF to create a 30,000-strong force to maintain security along Syria’s borders.
The statement prompted condemnation from Damascus, which called these activities acts of aggression and occupation.
The news also prompted a backlash from Turkey, with Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag accusing Washington of creating a “terrorist army” to protect Daesh and President Erdogan pledging to “strangle” these forces before they were born.