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Erdogan announces evacuation of Kurdish fighters from safe zone in northern Syria

October 19, 2019 at 12:09 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the opening of third legislative session of the Turkish parliament’s 27th term on 1 October 2019 at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) in Ankara, Turkey. [Turkish Presidency / Handout – Anadolu Agency]

The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced the entry into force of the Turkish-US agreement on northern Syria, which was signed on Thursday in Ankara, after long negotiations between the delegations of both countries.

Erdogan revealed during an interview today that the evacuation of Kurdish fighters and the positions that they control in the border region with Turkey has started, indicating that this process is taking place according to the agreement, under the supervision of the US. The Turkish president stressed that he will closely monitor the operation.

Regarding the reported clashes and mutual shelling in the Ras Al-Ain area last night and this morning, Erdogan denied any confrontations between the Turkish army and fighters of the Syrian democratic Forces (SDF).

He confirmed that he had contacted the Turkish defence minister, who assured him that there were no confrontations nor clashes between the Turkish army and those he described as terrorist organisations, in that area.

Erdogan explained that the safe area that has been agreed upon with the US will include the eastern region of the Euphrates, extending to the border with Iraq, with 32 kilometres in depth and 440 kilometres in length.

He added that Turkey agreed with the US to keep Turkish troops in the field, stressing that they will not leave until the area is fully evacuated from what he described as terrorist organisations.