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Clashes Continue Between Turkish, Syrian Kurdish Forces Despite Cease-fire

ISTANBUL - Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Friday that Turkish forces would intensify their operation into Syria if Kurdish militias failed to comply with an agreement struck with the United States. The warning was made as sporadic fighting continued and disputes emerged over the cease-fire terms.

On Thursday, Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence agreed that Turkey would end its operation against the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia if it withdrew 32 kilometers from the Turkish border.

Vice President Mike Pence meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace for talks on the Kurds…

Under the agreement, a 120-hour suspension of hostilities would be observed by Turkish forces to allow the militia to withdraw. Last week, Turkish forces allied with Syrian rebels launched an offensive against the YPG, which Ankara considers terrorists. The militia was a key ally in the Washington-led war against Islamic State.

But reports of heavy fighting continued between Syrian Democratic Forces and Turkish armed forces and Syrian rebels, despite the temporary cease-fire.

"Turkish army forces and their affiliated jihadist groups indiscriminately continue airstrikes and artillery attacks on Serêkanîyê [Ras al-Ayn]," said SDF spokesperson Mustafa Bali in an interview with VOA's Kurdish service. The YPG is the main component of the SDF, which is a coalition of forces made up of Arabs and Kurds.

"Despite the cease-fire, clashes have not stopped in Serêkanîyê," he added. "Our forces are responding to these attacks within the framework of legitimate self-defense."

But Ankara downplayed the reports. "There are no clashes. These [reports of clashes] are disinformation," Erdogan said to local reporters Friday.


Aliqismet BADALOV,
“Khalq qazeti”

19 October 2019 10:48 -

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