Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that he will discuss the situation in northeast Syria with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in their upcoming meeting on October 22.
“There will be a meeting with Putin in Sochi on Tuesday. Our aim is to identify an acceptable solution. We want the areas under the control of the Syrian government to be cleared of militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] and the Self Defense Forces [YPG],” told a news conference in Istanbul on October 18, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
The Turkish President went on to state that he has no objections against placing the “safe-zone” under the Damascus government’s control.
On October 9, the Turkish military and its Syrian proxies launched a large-scale military operation to establish the “safe-zone” in northeast Syria. However, a breakthrough deal between Damascus and Kurdish forces allowed Syrian troops to enter the region, which limited the movement of Turkish forces.
Facing this unexpected development, Turkey accepted a US-proposed ceasefire which would force Kurdish forces out of the designated “safe-zone.” Less than 24 hours after its beginning, the ceasefire appears to be collapsing, with both side not fulfilling their commitments.
Erdogan’s new statements indicate that Ankara likely hopes to strike a deal with Moscow that would force Kurdish forces out of the “safe-zone” in exchange for the deployment of the Syrian military.