Erdogan urges Putin to support Turkiye’s occupation of northern Syria
Over the past year, Turkiye has been looking to establish a 'security corridor' running 30km deep inside Syria, as part of a plan to repatriate millions of Syrian refugees
By News Desk - December 12 2022

(Photo credit: AFP /Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 11 December urged his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to support his plans for a 30-kilometer deep “security corridor” along Turkiye’s border with Syria, an area controlled by Kurdish militant groups.

Erdogan told Putin during a phone conversation that it was “important to clear [Kurdish fighters] from the border to a depth of at least 30 kilometers,” his office said in a statement.

The statement pointed to the 2019 agreement between Russia and Turkiye to set up a zone under Syrian and Russian control. The Kremlin confirmed the 2019 agreement was discussed in the call.

“The two countries’ defense and foreign services will maintain close contacts in this regard,” a Kremlin statement reads.

Erdogan’s push to establish this “security corridor” comes as Ankara renews its shelling of positions of Kurdish militant groups in northern Syria, such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

PKK and YPG fighters make up the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and have been helping Washington plunder Syrian oil from Syria’s northeast region.

Turkiye’s airstrikes into northern Syria and Iraq started last month after a terror attack in Istanbul that Ankara has pinned on the PKK.

Threats from Turkiye to invade Syria with a ground offensive earlier in the year were rebuffed by Russia and the US. Moreover, both Moscow and Washington have been putting diplomatic pressure on Ankara not to launch a new ground campaign.

During Sunday’s phone call, the Turkish and Russian leaders also discussed expanding the grain corridor operating in the Black Sea to include other Russian commodities, such as fertilizer and agricultural products.

The corridor was set up with the support of Ankara and the UN to allow for the export of grain from Ukraine.

Erdogan and Putin also discussed establishing a base in Turkiye to export Russian gas, in an attempt to help the Kremlin make up for its lost European customers.

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