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    Erdogan calls on Putin to establish Syrian corridor

    ISTANBUL (AP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a 30-kilometre security corridor on Turkiye’s border with Syria in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdogan’s office said yesterday.

    Referring to Kurdish militants that Ankara considers terrorists, Erdogan reiterated the “importance and urgency” of creating the corridor in northern Syria in accordance with a 2019 agreement between Turkiye and Russia, the statement added.

    The call came three weeks after Turkiye launched air and artillery strikes in Syria and Iraq in response to a bomb attack in Istanbul on November 13 that killed six people and wounded dozens.

    The Turkish government has blamed the bombing on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its Syrian affiliate the People’s Protection Units, or YPG.

    Both groups have denied involvement in the attack.

    The PKK has waged a 38-year insurgency against Turkiye that has led to the loss of tens of thousands of lives. It is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkiye, the United States and the European Union. The YPG, however, is not designated as a terror group by Washington or Brussels and has spearheaded the United States (US)-led fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

    Erdogan has threatened to follow up strikes on northern Syria with a ground offensive.

    Under a 2019 deal signed with Turkiye, Russia promised to establish a buffer zone between the Turkish border and YPG forces that would be controlled by the Syrian army and Russian military police.

    The agreement was not fully implemented although both Russian and Syrian government forces are present in the border region, as well as some US troops.

    A patrol of American forces in Syria. PHOTO: AP
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