Turkish and Russian Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation on Wednesday and discussed the operation prepared by Turkish military to create a security zone in Syria, Erdogan’s office issued a communique following the talks.
"During the talks, our president underlined that the military action planned to the east of the Euphrates [River] will contribute to peace and stability as well as a political process in Syria," the office is quoted as saying by TASS.
The Russian leader called on Ankara to think the situation over carefully to ensure that its military operation in Syria does not impair joint efforts to resolve the crisis. "In light of the plans to conduct a military operation in northeast Syria announced by Turkey, Vladimir Putin called on the Turkish partners to think the situation over carefully so as not to impair joint efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis," the press service reported. "At the same time, both parties highlighted the importance of ensuring the unity and territorial integrity of Syria and respect for its sovereignty.
Erdogan also announced that Turkey sees "protection of rights and interests of the Syrian people as an important factor." He also "extended gratitude to the Russian Federation for its constructive approach in this process."
Meanwhile, Russian and Turkish Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu also had a phone call. They discussed the Syrian settlement, paying particular attention to the situation in northeastern Syria.
On October 1, Erdogan announced that Ankara intends to unilaterally establish a security zone on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Syria since Turkey had failed to achieve desirable results at talks with the US. On October 6, Erdogan had a telephone conversation with Trump, after which the White House stated that it would not support Ankara or take part in any way in the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, while US troops would not be staged anywhere near the operation site. On October 7, the Turkish leader revealed that the United States had begun withdrawing troops from northeastern Syria, where Ankara intended to carry out an operation to create the security zone. For his part, Trump warned that if Turkey does anything "off limits" he "will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey."
On October 9, Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar reported that the Turkish army "continues redeploying troops to the Syrian border and preparing for the operation."