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Erdogan: Turkey to set up Syria 'security zone' suggested by Trump

Erdogan: Turkey to set up Syria 'security zone' suggested by Trump

He said Turkey also gave a paper to the USA delegation in return.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Ankara would set up a "security zone" in northern Syria suggested by US President Donald Trump.

His top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on a whirlwind regional tour aimed at reassuring allies amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Turkey over the fate of Washington's Syrian Kurdish allies in the fight against Islamic State (Isil).

The uncertainties associated with the drawdown of USA military troops in Syria have all players on edge, inspiring somewhat conflicting statements from the Trump administration.

"The President expressed the desire to work together to address Turkey's security concerns in northeast Syria while stressing the importance to the United States that Turkey does not mistreat the Kurds and other Syrian Democratic Forces with whom we have fought to defeat ISIS", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Turkey has repeatedly objected to United States support for the terrorist PKK/PYD as a "reliable ally" in Syria, which has included supplying arms and equipment.

He did not give any further details, but his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the president's aim was to "make sure that the folks who fought with us to take down the [IS] caliphate. have security, and also that terrorists acting out of Syria aren't able to attack Turkey".

On Sunday, Trump said the United States was starting the pull-out of USA forces that were deployed to Syria to help drive Daesh fighters out of the country but it would continue to hit the militant group if need be. He warned the U.S. would "devastate Turkey economically if they hit the Kurds".

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"Also spoke about economic development between the US & Turkey - great potential to substantially expand!" he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was not against the idea of a secure zone along the border, but said partners and allies should not communicate via social media.

"We also told him that the PKK/YPG tortures the groups in Syria that do not depend on them".

Ankara has however threatened to launch a cross-border operation to eradicate Syrian Kurdish fighters it sees as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). He also insisted that Turkey "fights against terrorists, not Kurds" as a people.

About a Russian-Turkish contract for the purchase of S-400 air defense systems, Kalin said it "has nothing to do with deal for US Patriot missiles".

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels control a strip of territory between 13km and 30km deep that runs along the border from Afrin to the western bank of the River Euphrates. "Therefore, you can not achieve anything by threatening Turkey economically", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Syria's National Coalition, the leading opposition body, on Sunday called for a "radical solution" to put "an end to its (HTS) presence" in Idlib.