Erdogan vows to 'crush the heads' of Kurdish fighters if ceasefire fails

Elias Hubbard
October 20, 2019

Ankara considers Kurdish servicemen as the terrorists and wants to create a "safe zone" buffer inside Syria.

US President Donald Trump talks to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"If the promises that were made to us are not kept, we will not wait like we did before, and we will continue the operation where it left off once the time we set has run out", he said on Saturday.

The vice president announced Thursday that Turkey would pause its invasion of northern Syria for five days to allow Kurdish allies to withdraw from the safe zone of the border region.

In comments to local television on Thursday night, the SDF's Gen. Mazloum Kobani said the deal only applied to the area between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras Al-Ain.

"The process has been continuing", he added, noting that there are Russian soldiers in Qamishli and Syrian government forces in different places.

"We will discuss the issue with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin".

Turkey on Saturday urged the United States (US) to use its "leverage" over Syrian Kurdish forces to ensure an orderly pullout under an agreement reached with Washington, a presidential spokesman told AFP. That has complicated Turkey's plan to create a "safe zone" south of its border with Syria where it would resettle Syrian refugees now living in Turkey.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are believed to be 3.6 million Syrian refugees registered in Turkey.

"After the completion of the Kurdish withdrawal, Turkey's military operation, which began October 9, would be "halted entirely", Pence said". They accused the SDF and YPG forces of repeated violations, saying Kurdish fighters had conducted 16 attacks ranging from sniper shots to rockets.

Two days into the cease-fire, the border town of Ras al-Ayn has been the sticking point in moving forward. He claimed that the Turkish forces had "neutralized" around 750 Syrian Kurdish fighters.

"Syria's Kurds was a crucial partner in the US-backed struggle from the Islamic State team in Syria, overrunning the final remnant of the self-proclaimed" caliphate" in March.

On Saturday, Turkey and Kurdish forces accused one another of violating the ceasefire agreement.

He said only after that will his force pull back from a 120km (75mile) area between the towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad. However, Esper did say that the USA would carry out aerial reconnaissance of the zone.

On Friday, Pompeo said in Brussels that he was confident the ceasefire would be implemented and played down reports of clashes since the beginning of the truce. It said the convoy evacuated wounded and others.

In this image provided by Turkish Red Crescent, Turkish Red Crescent vehicles arrive to deliver aid to Syrians in Ras Al-Ayn, Syria, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.

For Bilhan, a strategic and definitive solution to the Kurdish problem can only be possible by a joint political effort of the four countries in the region with a sizeable Kurdish population, namely Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The cease-fire got off to a rocky start, with sporadic fighting and shelling around Ras al-Ayn Friday. The Turks seem to have the U.S. blessing to establish the safe zone they have long desired and Kurdish forces will be required to exit the area.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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