Erdoğan, Trump discuss Syria safe zone
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Oct. 18 discussed the to-be established safe zone in the east of Euphrates in northern Syria, in a phone conversation.
"I hope joint efforts of Turkey and the U.S. will continue for peace, prosperity and stability of our region," Erdoğan said in a Twitter. post.
Turkey and the U.S. agreed on Oct. 17 to pause Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria.
During their conversation, Erdoğan said he shared his pleasure on mutual steps the two countries took to strengthen the bilateral relations.
In the meantime, U.S. defense chief Mark Esper on Oct. 18 said that no troops will be on the ground to implement a safe zone in northeastern Syria where Turkey seeks to ensure an area for the return of refugees.
"No U.S. ground forces will participate in the enforcement of this safe zone, however, we will remain in communication with both Turkey and the YPG," Esper said during a press conference.
Esper said he is looking forward to meeting his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, next week in Brussels to "reinforce the importance of ensuring a lasting political solution to the situation in Syria.
Akar, Esper discuss deal on Syria
Meanwhile, Turkey's defense minister on Oct. 18 spoke with his U.S. counterpart over the phone, to discuss the implementation of the agreement on the proposed safe zone in northern Syria, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, Akar and Esper emphasized the aim is to successfully establish the safe zone, agreed on by Turkey and the U.S., within the framework of the territorial integrity of Syria
The statement said Turkey is closely monitoring the withdrawal of the YPG/PKK terrorists from the proposed safe zone, collection of heavy weapons from the terrorists and disablement of their fortifications, as specified in the agreement.
Stressing that Turkey would continue to fight the ISIL terror group with determination, the statement said Ankara expects from the U.S. to fulfill the commitments.
It was also stressed that the right to self-defense would be exercised in case of any harassment or hostile movement towards the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
Turkish, US army chiefs discuss Syria over phone
High-level talks continued on Oct. 18 as Turkish and U.S. army chiefs discussed Syria over the phone.
Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and his U.S. counterpart Mark Milley discussed the security situation and recent developments in Syria, according to a statement by the Turkish General Staff.