Erdogan: Syria offensive will end if Kurds withdraw
Turkey's offensive into northeast Syria will end if Kurdish fighters in the region drop their weapons and withdraw from a planned "safe zone," President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, but warned that no power could stop it until then.
Emily Wither reports.
Huge cheers for Turkey's President in parliament as heavy fighting rages on the ground in north-eastern Syria.
Tayyip Erdogan has delivered an ultimatum to Kurdish fighters Wednesday (October 16).
(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRESIDENT, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "Our proposal to solve the issue in Syria in the quickest way is for all terrorists to drop their weapons, destroy their traps and withdraw outside of the safe zone we determined by tonight." He says the country's offensive in Syria will end when a 32-kilometer safe zone is established along Turkey's border, and that was non-negotiable.
Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies are pressing ahead with their offensive around two border towns.
This is Ras al Ain where Turkish backed Syrian opposition fighters and Kurdish militia are engaged in heavy fighting.
While Russia-backed Syrian troops have moved on the city of Manbij after it was abandoned by U.S. forces.
And, Syrian media reports regime soldiers have entered Raqqa.
The former seat of Islamic State recaptured by the Kurds and U.S. led coalition forces.
Over the border in Turkey forces fired shells at Kurdish militia YPG targets in Syrian territory.
Now an abandoned U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State, Turkey views this group as terrorists and an extension of its home-grown PKK militant group.
Tension over the U.S. support for Kurdish forces has been building for years.
Erdogan says he's re-evaluating his planned visit next month to the U.S. Telling reporters that arguments, debates, and conversations being held in Congress around this were disrespecting Turkey.
Adding to the visitors Vice President Mike Pence is due in Ankara Thursday (October 16) as the Trump administration scrambles to contain the fall out.