Turkish op reaches first week as Erdoğan, Putin discuss Syria over phone

Turkish op reaches first week as Erdoğan, Putin discuss Syria over phone

Turkish op reaches first week as Erdoğan, Putin discuss Syria over phone

The number of terrorists Turkey has “neutralized” in its anti-terror military operation into northeast Syria has risen to 637 on Oct. 16 as Turkey's president and his Russian counterpart discussed bilateral relations and regional developments over the phone late on Oct. 15.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

The number of "neutralized" YPG/PKK terrorists has reached 637, the Defense Ministry said over Twitter.

According to the Turkish Directorate of Communications, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin tackled Turkey's counter-terror operation in northern Syria and its contribution to protecting Syria's territorial integrity and political resolution process. 

Coalition forces announce withdrawal

The U.S.-led anti-ISILcoalition on Oct. 15 announced its withdrawal from Manbij, Syria, an area targeted by Turkey for clearing YPG/PKK terrorists.

"Coalition forces are executing a deliberate withdrawal from northeast Syria. We are out of Manbij," Col. Myles B. Caggins III, Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) spokesman for the 81-member coalition to Defeat Daesh, said on Twitter.

U.S. forces have been leaving Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring zone since Oct. 6, when U.S. President Donald Trump said they would withdraw.

U.S. forces had been allied with the terrorist YPG/PKK to defeat ISIL, an alliance Turkey long criticized as both immoral and irrational.

Berlin says EU not planning economic sanctions on Turkey

The EU is not planning any economic sanctions on Turkey at the moment, a senior German diplomat said on Oct. 15.

Briefing reporters ahead of an EU leaders summit this week, the senior diplomat said the leaders would discuss Turkey’s ongoing anti-terrorist operation in Syria, together with other major EU and international topics, during their two-day summit beginning on Oct. 17.

“The EU has made no plans so far to impose economic sanctions on Turkey,” he said, but stressed that the member states oppose Turkey’s military action and are closely watching developments.

EU foreign ministers on Oct. 14 spoke of limiting arms exports to Turkey, expressing worries over a humanitarian crisis and instability in the region. But no EU-wide arms embargo emerged from the meeting.

Turkish, US top diplomats speak over phone

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu spoke with his U.S. counterpart over the phone on Oct. 15, according to a diplomatic source.

No information was disclosed on the topics of the talk between Çavuşoğlu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo had held another phone call on Oct. 9, when Turkey launched the Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Pence to visit Turkey

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will soon depart for Turkey to hold talks with top officials regarding Ankara's ongoing Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria, Trump said on Oct. 15.

Pence will be accompanied by Pompeo when he departs on Oct. 16, Trump said in remarks delivered at the White House.

A U.S. delegation will leave ahead of the departure of the senior officials, according to the president.

The vice president's office released a statement adding Pence will be further accompanied by National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, and Trump's special envoy for the anti-ISIL coalition James Jeffrey.

"In Turkey, the Vice President will voice the United States' commitment to reach an immediate ceasefire and the conditions for a negotiated settlement," it said.

Pence is set to meet with Erdoğan, according to the office.

"The Administration is resolved to maintain security in the region, the safety of civilians, and the continued detention of ISIS fighters," the office said, using another acronym for ISIL.

Akar talks with his Iraqi counterpart

In the meantime, the Turkish defense minister held a phone call with his Iraqi counterpart on Oct. 15, discussing current developments in Syria, the Defense Ministry said.

Hulusi Akar and Najah Hassan Ali Al-Shammari discussed defense and security matters during the call, the ministry added.

The minister also discussed the latest developments in Syria with his British counterpart on Oct. 16, according to the Defense Ministry.

Akar and British Security Minister Ben Wallace discussed situation in Syria, defense and security issues, the ministry said.