Turkey defiant on Syria offensive

Trump sends Pence, Pompeo to negotiate with Erdogan
Turkey rebuffed international pressure to curb its military offensive against Kurdish militants in Syria on Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump dispatched his deputy Mike Pence to Ankara to demand a ceasefire. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected any negotiations, telling Parliament the only way to solve Syria’s problems was for the Kurdish forces to “lay down their arms… destroy all their traps and get out of the safe zone that we have designated.” Battles raged in the key Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Wednesday, with Kurdish fighters burning tyres in a bid to blind Ankara’s warplanes and digging in against a ground offensive by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels. The operation, now in its second week, has triggered a flurry of diplomacy among major powers. Mr. Trump sent Pence along with his top diplomat Mike Pompeo to Turkey amid the greatest crisis in relations for decades between the NATO allies.
Erdogan-Putin meet
Moscow has stepped into the void left by Mr. Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, deploying patrols to prevent clashes between Syrian and Turkish forces. Russian TV showed its forces alongside Syrian government troops in the town of Manbij. The Kremlin said it would host Mr. Erdogan for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the coming days, to ensure the operation does not turn into all-out war between Turkey and Syria.
Mr. Trump — facing criticism in Washington over his decision to pull 1,000 troops out of the conflict zone, as well as an unrelated impeachment inquiry — has hit back at Mr. Erdogan, slapping sanctions on three Cabinet officials and raising tariffs on Turkish steel. Mr. Pence’s office released a statement that he would meet Mr. Erdogan on Thursday and “voice the U.S.’ commitment to reach an immediate ceasefire and the conditions for a negotiated settlement”. He reiterated that Mr. Trump will pursue “punishing economic sanctions” until a resolution is reached.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/turkey-defiant-on-syria-operation-as-us-seeks-ceasefire/article29721221.ece

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