Turkey to deploy troops inside Syria's Idlib - Erdoğan

Turkey will deploy troops in Syria's Idlib as part of "de-escalation agreement", Erdoğan said in an interview with Reuters
Friday, 22 September 2017 07:34

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday Turkey will deploy troops in Syria's northern Idlib region as part of "de-escalation agreement" brokered by Russia last month.

The "de-escalation" zones, agreed by Turkey, Russia and Iran, would be further discussed in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip to Ankara next week, Erdoğan said in an interview with Reuters while he was in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly.

"Under the agreement, Russians are maintaining security outside Idlib and Turkey will maintain the security inside Idlib region," Erdoğan said.

He also said Turkey's ties with NATO were strong despite buying S-400 missile system from Russia. 

Erdoğan called on the United States to extradite his former ally, U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. The network of Gülen was one of the masterminds of last year's coup attempt. "Terrorists should not be harboured here. We need U.S. assistance on this matter," Erdoğan said.


Meeting Erdogan on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday praised his leadership and said he "has become a friend of mine."

Erdoğan warned Washington that arming the YPG could end up hurting Washington and its allies.

"Weapons are being deployed to YPG ... We are strategic allies with the United States ..., we should avoid helping YPG," he said.

At a critical time for Turkish-Germany relations, Erdoğan said in the interview he hoped relations with Germany could be improved, praising German Chancellor Angela Merkel for refraining from criticising Turkey and its policies.