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Erdogan threatens to clear Syria border area if Russia does not fulfill duties

Published: Updated:

Turkey will clear the Turkish-Syrian border area of “terrorists” if Russia does not fulfil its obligations under the recent Sochi accords, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

“If the terrorists are not cleared at the end of the 150 hours, we will take control and clean it ourselves,” Erdogan said during a televised speech in Istanbul, referring to the YPG militia viewed as a “terrorist” offshoot of Kurdish insurgents in Turkey.

Under the deal hammered out by Erdogan and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Russian military police and Syrian border guards are meant to clear Kurdish YPG forces from within 30 km (19 miles) of the border. Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organisation.

Erdogan’s comments came after he said on Thursday that northeastern Syria is suitable for Arab people to live, but not Kurdish people, because of the area’s desert topography.

Russian President Putin had said on Tuesday that talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan had yielded what he called momentous results for Syria, but did not say what they were.

Putin, speaking at a news conference in southern Russia with Erdogan, said the two countries’ foreign ministers would disclose what had been agreed between the two men later.

Erdogan also threatened Europe, saying that if it did not support his planned “safe zone” in Syria, then he will open borders for refugees to go to Europe.

- With Reuters.