Kurdish forces have five days to leave northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, warning that those who fail to comply with his ultimatum will be exterminated.
Speaking on Saturday, Erdogan vowed that Turkey would “crush the heads” of Kurdish militias that still control pockets of northern Syria, ten days after Ankara launched a cross-border military incursion into the region.
A fragile ceasefire is currently in place between Turkish-backed militias and the Kurds. However, both sides have accused the other of provocations and ceasefire violations.
The temporary truce is meant to provide time to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to leave a “safe zone” that Turkey says will extend more than 30km (about 20 miles) deep inside Syria.
Erdogan also confirmed that he would discuss the tense situation in Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in Sochi. Moscow has called for restraint from all sides. Putin has said that the territorial integrity of Syria must be fully restored and all foreign forces should withdraw, including the Russian military if Damascus decides it doesn’t need Moscow’s help anymore.
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