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  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets members of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, Turkey, October 16, 2019.

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets members of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, Turkey, October 16, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 October 2019

On Wednesday, October 9th, the Turkish Army began their long-awaited offensive in northern Syria to expel the Kurdish forces from the border. 

Turkey’s offensive into northeast Syria will end if Kurdish fighters in the region drop their weapons and withdraw from a planned “safe zone”, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, but warned that no power could stop it until then.

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Erdogan said the quickest solution was for militants to drop their weapons and pull back from the area by Wednesday evening. The operation will end when the “safe zone” is established, he said, and Turkey was not open to negotiating this.

The Turkish leader previously warned the U.S. about the presence of these Kurdish-led groups in northern Syria. The Turkish authorities claim these Kurdish-led groups are 'terrorists' loyal to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group that is banned in Turkey. 

The Turkish Armed Forces and their allied rebels have captured several areas along the Syrian border in the past week, including the city of Tal Abyad in the Al-Raqqa province. 

In response to the Turkish military operation, the Syrian Army has reached an agreement with the Syrian Democratic Forces to deploy its troops to the northern border of the country. 

This deployment by the Syrian Army is meant to deter the Turkish Armed Forces and their allied rebels from expanding into the areas of northern Syria that are controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces. 

Thus far, this deployment has proven to be effective for Damascus as they have limited the Turkish military's operation in northern Syria, while also protecting the estimated three-million people living in the areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces. 

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