Obama praises Turkey’s role in Aleppo truce: White House readout
ANKARASpeaking in a phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late Dec 15, U.S. President Barack Obama praised the role Turkey played in brokering a truce deal in Aleppo that paved the way for the evacuation of thousands of civilians from the besieged city.
“President Obama thanked President Erdoğan for Turkey’s efforts to broker a ceasefire in Aleppo to allow for the safe evacuation of fighters and civilians wishing to depart the city under the supervision of international humanitarian organizations,” the White House said in a readout of the call.
Obama and Erdogan also agreed on the need to implement a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria, the White House added.
The U.S. president further expressed “his condolences for those killed and wounded in last weekend’s terrorist attacks in Istanbul” by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as for “Turkish soldiers killed in Syria in the fight against ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]” during their conversation.
“Finally, the leaders noted the warm and productive relationship they have enjoyed over the last eight years, and their shared desire for continued strong relations between the United States and Turkey,” the White House stated.
Erdogan said he had discussed the current situation in Syria’s Aleppo and Iraq with U.S. President Barack Obama on Dec. 15.
“We had a long conversation with Obama. I told him about the evacuation problems in Aleppo and he asked how he could help,” Erdoğan said, speaking during a press conference in Ankara with his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor.
He added that the “massacre and oppression” committed against the people of Aleppo was now out in the open in front of the whole world.
“Having such a tragedy in the 21st century is a shame for humanity. If we want a solution in Syria, the current situation in Aleppo must be brought under control,” Erdoğan said.
“We are closely following the cease-fire process and we will continue to do so. The number [of trapped people in Aleppo] is not small. I hope this [cease-fire] progress will not be interrupted again,” he added.