Turkey's Erdogan says won't allow US stalling in Syria deal

Turkish President Recep Erdogan attending a news conference at the MAKS 2019 air show in Zhukovsky, Russia, on Aug 28, 2019.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan attending a news conference at the MAKS 2019 air show in Zhukovsky, Russia, on Aug 28, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's deal with the United States on northeast Syria to set up a "safe zone" there was a correct step and that Ankara would not let Washington delay the plan, CNN Turk reported on Thursday (Aug 29).

Ankara revealed last weekend that a joint operations centre for the proposed zone along Syria's northeastern border is now fully operational.

Washington and Ankara have been at odds over plans for the region, where the Kurdish YPG militia form the main part of a US-backed force fighting Islamic State. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group.

"The agreement which we have reached with the USA is a correct step towards establishing a safe zone and removing the YPG from the east of the Euphrates (river)," Erdogan told reporters on his way back from meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Erdogan said Turkey would not accept delays in the plan, comparing it to an earlier deal with Washington to remove YPG fighters from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, which Ankara accused Washington of delaying.

"All the personnel, the armoured carriers, all are on the border. That is, we are in a position to do everything at any moment," Erdogan was quoted as saying.