Turkey Has ‘No Designs on Syrian Land’, US May Keep Some Troops Near Oilfields

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  • October 21, 2019
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Here are today's updates on Turkey's military operation in Syria.

Turkey launched a military operation into northern Syria on October 9, which came to a pause on October 17, after an agreement between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence in the capital Ankara.

Turkey has so far taken control of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, two Arab-majority cities. Turkey and its Syrian allies captured Tal Abyad from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after days of clashes. The SDF has withdrawn from Ras al-Ayn as part of the deal between Ankara and Washington. The five-day ceasefire will end tomorrow night.

Here are today's updates on the operation:

Erdogan: We have no designs on the land of any country

Turkey has no designs on the soil of any country, and on the independence and benefits of any community, Erdogan said at a forum held by state-run TRT in Istanbul.

"We only defend the rights and future of our siblings, whom we see as an indivisible part of us," he remarked.

Erdogan said all actors in the West, including the EU countries and NATO, stood by terrorists against Turkey during its operation in northern Syria.

"How long has it been you started standing by terrorists?" Erdogan asked.

Turkey has "never sat at a table with the terror groups" during the government's 17-year term, and "will never do so," the President claimed.

Erdogan also criticized those who withdrew from the TRT World Forum to protest Turkey's operation in northern Syria, accusing them of supporting terror organizations.

On his upcoming visit to Russia on Tuesday, Erdogan said, "We will discuss this [northern Syria] process and will hopefully take steps that need to be taken accordingly."

The Turkish president also called for the reorganization of global foundations, saying, "Let us restructure the locomotives of the global system, especially the United Nations."

Erdogan concluded his remarks saying that Turkey wishes those who oppose its proofs, concerns, wishes, and offers, would not listen to "authors of pro-terror groups", but listen to Turkey to learn the truth about its anti-terror push.

Pentagon may keep some soldiers in Syria

The US did not make any commitment with SDF in Syria to fight a longstanding NATO ally, the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said.

"Fighting a longstanding ally was not part of our commitment with the SDF," Mark Esper told at a press conference in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, adding the commitment with the Kurds was to destroy ISIS, but any future commitment requires a broader political framework.

Esper said keeping some US troops in northeastern Syria near oil fields is one of the options to deny ISIS revenue from those fields.

Russia: ISIS terrorists have started to disperse

Russia's Defense Minister said that prisons in northern Syria where captured ISIS militants are held became unprotected after Turkey launched the operation, Sputnik reported.

"As a result of the actions of the Turkish army in Syria, eight refugee camps and 12 prisons for foreign militants remained unprotected," Shoigu remarked on a visit to China.

"Some camps and facilities where terrorists from several dozen countries have been kept are currently not under guard, and terrorists have started to disperse."

Source: English Bianet