President Erdogan admits correspondence with Syrian government officials

The Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted on Sunday the presence of low-level communication ties with the Syrian government. Turkey currently provides shelter to more than four million Syrian refugees. Ever since the onset of Syrian political turmoil in 2011, Ankara has consistently supported Syrian opposition parties, including more radicalised cells, against President Bashar Al Assad’s leadership in the country. The Turkish President disagreed on the possibility of launching direct negotiations with President Assad but maintained the necessity of keeping open some lines of communication with the Syrian government.

President Erdogan also discussed the impact of the progressive withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria. He welcomed this move although stressed the importance of completing the pullout in due course. In a different case scenario, the Turkish leader expressed his willingness to forcibly intervene and neutralise the terrorist threat posed by Kurdish militias across the Syrian-Iraqi borderline. Ankara strives to establish a 32-kilometre security perimeter in Northern Syria. The buffer zone will be supervised by the Turkish army and is proposed to lie from the city of Jarabulus, situated in the western bank of Euphrates River in Northern Syria, and extends off the Al Hasaka region near the Iraqi border in the easternmost part of the country. The Turkish Presidential Spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, claimed on Monday that Ankara and Washington still iron out the terms and operational details of the security perimeter to be established in Syria.

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