Turkey ‘can never declare ceasefire’ in north Syria - Erdogan


Fearing U.S. abandonment, the Kurds opened a back channel to the Syrian government and the Russians in 2018, and those talks ramped up significantly in recent weeks, American, Kurdish and Russian officials told The Associated Press.

Turkey ignored US sanctions and pressed on with its offensive in northern Syria Tuesday, while the Russia-backed Syrian army roared into one of the most hotly contested cities abandoned by USA forces in Donald Trump's retreat.

Monday's sanctions came a week after the USA reversed its policy in northeast Syria and moved American troops out of the way, allowing Turkey to attack SDF forces. "We told them many times that we would do everything in our power short of military action to try to prevail upon the Turks not to come in", the official told reporters during a briefing.

It followed a deal announced Sunday between Damascus and the Kurds that saw government troops raise the Syrian flag in the flashpoint northern city of Manbij on Tuesday after USA forces withdrew.

Despite his rebuke of the left's response to Trump's decision to withdraw support from the Kurdish fighters and pull troops from Syria, Kilmeade was critical of Trump's policy as recently as Monday. "That's one significant event there", the official said.

Further east along the border, Kurdish fighters battled trying to retake the town of Ras al-Ayn, which was captured by Turkish forces days earlier.

Yet the current outrage is focused on Trump's rapid abandonment of Kurdish fighters who worked with US troops and, for five years, were relied upon as a key ally.

Turkish forces control a truncated zone roughly in the center of the border about 100 kilometers (60 miles) long between the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain.

Trump announced a pullback of USA forces from the border last week, a move widely interpreted as green-lighting a long-planned Turkish invasion.

Turkey says it aims to defeat the Kurdish YPG militia and create a "safe zone" where millions of Syrian war refugees now in Turkey could be resettled.

"God willing, we will quickly secure the region stretching from Manbij to our border with Iraq", Erdogan said. It said at least 69 civilians have been killed in Syria.

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At the same time, Trump is also pushing Ukraine to investigate any potential wrongdoing by the Bidens. Joe Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election.

Aid groups have pulled out worldwide workers and halted work, the Kurds said, but United Nations agencies continue to operate.

The U.S.is calling on Turkey to stop its invasion of Syria and declare a cease-fire in the assault that began after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of the way.

Luigi Di Maio told lawmakers on Tuesday that Italy will block all future arms exports to Turkey, as agreed the previous day by a summit of European Union foreign ministers condemning Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria.

Russia's defence ministry said United States troops had left bases near Manbij and the Syrian army "has full control" over the former Daesh terror group stronghold.

McConnell argued the US deploying troops to Syria and Afghanistan did not make America the world's policeman, but a "prudent and responsible world power that stands up for our security and freedom of others". They're policing, they're not a police force.

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria while agreeing to avoid clashes between Turkish and Syrian Armed Forces.

"This would simply be unacceptable", Russian news agencies quoted him as saying.

Turkey has lost six soldiers since the start of the offensive, including two in the Manbij area Tuesday.

"We don't know where they went".

European governments are anxious the chaos could trigger mass breakouts by thousands of ISIS fighters detained by Kurdish forces.

They have warned this could lead to an ISIS resurgence and increase the risk of some jihadists returning to Europe and conducting attacks. Outside Manbij, Russian troops patrolled front lines between Turkish and Syrian army positions to keep them apart, Russia's Defense Ministry said.