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The Latest: Erdogan says Kurds must be driven from Manbij

The Latest: Erdogan says Kurds must be driven from Manbij

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments related to Syria (all times local):

3 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the territorial integrity of Syria can only be preserved if Kurdish militia forces are driven out of the northern city of Manbij and regions east of the Euphrates River.

The Kurdish forces allied with the United States against the Islamic State group helped to rout Islamic extremists from much of northern and eastern Syria. Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.

Erdogan, who is in Russia's Sochi for three-way Syria talks with the presidents of Russia and Iran, said Thursday in opening remarks at his meeting with President Vladimir Putin that Syria's "territorial integrity cannot be ensured" without the Kurdish military "cleared" from Manbij and from the east of the Euphrates. He did not elaborate.

Russia, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, is getting increasingly impatient about militants in the Idlib province.

Russia and Turkey, which supports the Syrian opposition, had brokered a cease-fire for Idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold that averted a major government offensive but that deal has been strained as al-Qaida-linked militants seized towns and villages in Idlib.

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11:50 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting the leaders of Turkey and Iran for talks about a Syria peace settlement as expectations mount for an imminent and final defeat of the Islamic State group.

The talks are expected to kick off in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Thursday.

Russia, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, is getting increasingly impatient about militants in Syria's Idlib province.

Russia and Turkey, which supports the Syrian opposition, had brokered a cease-fire for Idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold that averted a major government offensive but that deal has been strained as al-Qaida-linked militants seized towns and villages in Idlib.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Russia is going to raise its concerns at the talks about the presence of "terrorists" there.


Updated : 2021-06-18 13:41 GMT+08:00