Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the US president, in a phone call with him, reaffirmed the US troop pullout from Syria as well as "a 20-mile [32km] security zone along the Syrian border... will be set up by us [Turkey]."

Turkey has dealt a heavy blow to the terrorist PKK/YPG in Afrin, Syria, and it will soon move to eliminate terrorist groups east of the Euphrates River, Erdogan says.
Turkey has dealt a heavy blow to the terrorist PKK/YPG in Afrin, Syria, and it will soon move to eliminate terrorist groups east of the Euphrates River, Erdogan says. (AA)

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that he viewed a proposed 20-mile [32km] safe zone in northern Syria positively and added that its range may be extended further.

Erdogan said he had discussed a "security zone" which Turkey would set up in Syria during a phone call with US President Donald Trump, with the latter reaffirming the US troop pullout from Syria as well as "a 20-mile (32km) security zone along the Syrian border... will be set up by us [Turkey]."

Speaking to reporters in parliament, Erdogan also said he would most likely meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 23.

TRT World's Andrew Hopkins reports.

Earlier, Erdogan, addressing lawmakers of his Justice and Development (AK) Party at the parliament, said he discussed with Trump the idea of a terror-free safe zone in northern Syria and informed the US president that Turkey embraces all people in Syria without any discrimination.

"We also told him that the PKK/YPG tortures the groups in Syria that do not stand with them. We also said that we have given all document on this issue to his advisers," Erdogan said.

Boosting trade ties

He added that the two presidents agreed to increase the Turkish-US trade volume to $75 billion.

The phone call came after Trump threatened to "devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds," conflating "Kurds" with the terrorist PKK/YPG, a conflation that Turkey has repeatedly criticised.

Turkey has dealt a heavy blow to the terrorist PKK/YPG in Afrin, Syria, and it will soon move to eliminate terrorist groups east of the Euphrates River, Erdogan added.

Kurds shouldn't be fooled by terror groups

Erdogan also called on Kurds not to be fooled by terror groups, adding: "I call on my Kurdish brothers. You should not be deceived by this game... Turkey is the country of my Kurdish brothers as well."

Following the surprise announcement in December that US forces would leave Syria, US officials said the withdrawal was conditional on Turkey not attacking the "Kurds," meaning the terrorist PKK/YPG.

Turkish officials blasted the US conflation of "Kurds" with the terror group, saying an expected Turkish operation in Syria will target a terrorist group which threatens Arabs, Turkmens, and Kurds in Syria alike.

In its 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives. 

The PYD/YPG is its Syrian branch.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies