Syria wants Turkish withdrawal to revive security agreement

Turkish army hits YPG  PKK targets in Syria's Tal Rifat

Turkish army hits YPG PKK targets in Syria's Tal Rifat

"We are determined to save our region from disaster in cooperation with Russia, Iran, the USA and especially with Syrian people", President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's presentation of mayoral candidates for the southeastern Gaziantep province.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry reacted to the recent statement by Erdogan concerning the 1998 Adana agreement, accusing Turkey of violating the accord since 2011 by supporting terrorists and occupying Syrian territory, SANA reported, citing a representative in the ministry.

On January 21, Erdogan said he would talk with Putin about the creation of a Turkish-controlled "security zone" in northern Syria. Neither side has released details on what exactly that zone would look like, who would secure it, and what would become of the Kurdish forces and people who live there.

Turkey fears any deal between the Syrian government and the YPG in the border area as well as in the strategic town of Manbij, under which the Kurdish militia would remain a threat to Turkey's security.

Erdogan said Turkey must have control in the safe zone and added: "We are closed to all solution proposals other than this".

The foreign minister said nothing was certain about the planned zone, but that Ankara and Washington's views were in line.

But after a reconciliation deal in 2016, relations have recovered at a remarkable speed with Putin and Erdogan cooperating closely over Syria, Turkey buying Russian-made air defense systems and Russia building Turkey's first nuclear power plant.

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Following the agreement, Damascus demanded Abdullah Öcalan and other leaders of the PKK to leave the country, which ended up in Öcalan's capture in Kenya in 1999 and transfer to Turkey to stand trial. Experts say that, despite their differing positions, both countries realize they must cooperate to maintain stability.

The United States armed the YPG in the war against ISIS and said it was not a terror group.

The U.S. administration announced in December that it was planning to withdraw its troops from Syria. Ankara wants Syrian Kurdish militia to withdraw from there and Erdogan has been seeking logistical and financial assistance from the U.S.in this.

Turkey says the 1998 treaty gives it the right to move into Syria, justifying its troop deployment in the country and a possible new offensive created to push out the Syrian Kurdish militia that Ankara considers to be an existential threat.

Meanwhile, Russia has been supportive of Damascus regaining control of territories after US troops withdraw and has backed dialogue between the Syrian government and the Kurdish militia. Such talks will benefit Syria and neighbouring states, he said.

Putin said the regular meetings between the two countries yield "positive results".

"In case those steps, those plans are really implemented, it will become a positive step and will help stabilize the situation in that troubled area of the Syrian state which is now controlled by Kurdish units".

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