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Politics Trump speaks with Turkey's Erdogan amid growing tensions in Syria

05:05  17 february  2020
05:05  17 february  2020 Source:   thehill.com

Buoyed by U.S., Erdogan Vows to Expel Syrian Forces From Idlib

  Buoyed by U.S., Erdogan Vows to Expel Syrian Forces From Idlib Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to drive Russian-backed Syrian government forces from the last rebel stronghold of Idlib, escalating his threats against Damascus after being buoyed by rare public support from the U.S. © Photographer: AREF TAMMAWI/AFP A Turkish military convoy of tanks and armoured vehicles passes through the city of Idlib, in northwestern Syria, near the Syria-Turkey border, late on February 7, 2020.

US President Donald Trump 's met Turkey ' s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, despite opposition in Congress to the visit. Congress has been opposed to Turkey ' s offensive in northern Syria and its recent buying of a Russian missile system and these topics dominated the talks.

President Trump spoke Thursday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the two countries attempt to negotiate differences over how to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

President Trump spoke with Turkey's president on Saturday just days after U.S. forces clashed with Syrian government forces near an area where Turkish forces are attempting to resettle thousands of Syrian refugees.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan wearing a suit and tie: Trump speaks with Turkey's Erdogan amid growing tensions in Syria© UPI Photo Trump speaks with Turkey's Erdogan amid growing tensions in Syria

Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere told pool reporters Sunday evening that Trump had spoken with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a day earlier and "expressed concern over the violence in Idlib, Syria," referring to recent clashes between Turkish and Syrian government forces in the region.

"Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. President Trump expressed concern over the violence in Idlib, Syria, and thanked President Erdogan for Turkey's efforts to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe," Deere said.

Syria: US troops open fire on locals in northeast, killing 1

  Syria: US troops open fire on locals in northeast, killing 1 A Syrian was killed and another was wounded in a rare clash Wednesday between American troops and a group of government supporters who tried to block a U.S. convoy driving through a village in northeastern Syria, state media and activists reported. © Provided by Associated Press In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, A Syrian man receives treatment after U.S. troops opened fire on locals who tried to block a U.S. convoy driving near the village Khirbet Ammu, east of Qamishli city, Syria, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. SANA said the locals had gathered at an army checkpoint, pelting the U.S.

[Related: Why Turkey is figthing the Kurds in Syria , explained.] Now, Mr. Trump ’ s decision goes against the recommendations of top officials in the Pentagon and the Administration officials said that Mr. Trump spoke directly with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on the issue on Sunday.

Trump dismissed those concerns Wednesday. Trump said Erdogan , who has described many of the Kurds on the Turkey - Syria border as terrorists, has a "And there’ s a pony in there somewhere if we can find it.” Erdogan ' s visit comes amid reports of clashes in Syria – and questions about whether

"President Trump conveyed the United States' desire to see an end to Russia's support for the Assad regime's atrocities and for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict. President Trump also reiterated that continued foreign interference in Libya would only serve to worsen the situation."

Clashes occurred earlier this month between pro-government forces and Turkish military units in northeastern Syria, the site of a military assault by Turkish forces last year as part of an operation by Turkey's government to resettle more than one million Syrian refugees.

Days ago the region was subject to further violence as U.S. forces fired on pro-government militants who were allegedly throwing rocks at them, killing one Syrian.

"After Coalition troops issued a series of warnings and de-escalation attempts, the patrol came under small arms fire from unknown individuals. In self-defense, Coalition troops returned fire," said a coalition forces spokesman.

Turkey's Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summit .
Turkey's Erdogan says no agreement yet on four-way Syria summitSyrian government forces are pushing to retake the last large rebel-held region in Syria after nine years of war and nearly a million Syrians, mostly women and children, have been displaced by the fighting since early December.

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