Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will take “the necessary steps” on Syria following his meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, set to take place in Russia’s resort city of Sochi on October 22, as he himself said at an Istanbul forum on globalization.
Turkey to go ahead with operation in Syria unless Kurdish units retreat — defense minister
According to Erdogan, Ankara suspended Operation Peace Spring for 120 hours and the time is running out. “We will travel to Russia tomorrow. I will discuss the process with Mr. Putin, and then we will take the necessary steps,” Erdogan said without going into detail.
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.
In a phone call between Putin and Erdogan, the Russian president invited his Turkish counterpart to meet in Sochi on October 22, to discuss the tense situation in Syria. Moscow has urged all sides to exercise restraint. In addition, Putin has emphasized that Syria’s territorial integrity must be fully restored.
On October 17, the United States, represented by Vice President Mike Pence, reached a deal with Erdogan 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.