Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Syrian Kurdish militants must leave the designated border region in northeast Syria “tonight” so that Turkey stops its military offensive.
Erdogan made comments in parliament on Wednesday amid pressure on him to declare a ceasefire and end his invasion of Syria, now the eighth day.
Erdogan made it clear that Turkey will not succumb to pressure and will continue the military operation until the Turkish troops reach a depth of about 30 or 35 kilometers inside Syria.
He also called on the world to support Turkey’s struggle against Kurdish groups, which it considers “terrorists” for ties with rebels within its borders.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia is committed to mediating between the Syrian government and Turkey to ensure security in the region, as Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Syria begins its eighth day.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Russian news agencies, Lavrov said that Moscow will also continue to call on the Kurds of Syria and the government to seek rapprochement after the withdrawal of US troops from the northern border.
Lavrov also accused the United States and Western countries of undermining the Syrian state, thereby “pushing the Kurds to separatism and confrontation with the Arab tribes.”
Lavrov, during his visit to Iraq last week, met with leaders of the Kurdish Autonomous Okrug and said that Moscow was sympathetic to their need for autonomy.
Russia was the most influential patron of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the eight-year Syrian civil war.
France calls on European and other coalition members fighting against an Islamic state group in Syria to regroup as the US renounces its leadership role in the region.
French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian said in an interview with BFM on Wednesday that France is particularly looking at Russia, given their “common interests” in defeating IS in Syria.
He said the withdrawal of US forces from northeastern Syria is forcing European leaders to reconsider their alliance with the US in the region.
Le Drian said that “France’s own security is in jeopardy” amid a Turkish attack on Syrian Kurdish militants.
He said that “accepting this invasion” gave ISIS an “open door” for return, since chaos could save thousands of Islamic state fighters held in Kurdish prisons.
Russia tried to fill the void left by the United States in the conflict by deploying its forces in the direction of the Syrian border with Turkey.
The Turkish president said he would not stop the military offensive in northeastern Syria, despite increased pressure and sanctions from NATO allies.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comment came when Washington announced limited sanctions against Turkey, saying US Vice President Mike Pence will leave for Ankara on Wednesday to try to reach a ceasefire.
Speaking to a group of journalists, Erdogan said he told President Donald Trump: “We can never announce a ceasefire,” adding that Turkey will not negotiate with “terrorists.”
Erdogan said he was “not worried” about the sanctions imposed on Turkey.
Turkey launched an offensive against Syrian Kurdish militants, whom it considers terrorists, after Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops.
Russia has demonstrated its role as the actual mediator in the conflict, deploying forces near the border after the withdrawal of America.