Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have agreed to clear the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front from the Syrian city of Aleppo, Erdoğan said on Oct. 19.
Commenting on a phone conversation he had with Putin on Oct. 18, Erdoğan said the two sides had talked about a consensus for taking al-Nusra fighters out of Syria’s second largest city.
“He [Putin] said that as of 10:00 p.m. [Oct. 18] the air bombardment was stopped [in Aleppo]. They [Putin] appealed to us about taking al-Nusra out of the city. We have given the necessary instructions to our friends [officials]. We have talked about a consensus [with Putin] to work on taking al-Nusra out of Aleppo and maintaining the peace of the people of Aleppo,” Erdoğan said Oct. 19, addressing a meeting of neighborhood leaders in Ankara.
A Turkish presidential source told state-run Anadolu Agency that Putin “congratulated Turkey for its success” against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria after Ankara-backed rebels seizing the symbolically important town of Dabiq.
The two leaders discussed the latest developments in Iraq and Syria, the fight against terror, regional issues and bilateral relations, according to the source.
Putin also talked to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi over the phone on Oct. 18, the Kremlin stated.
Meanwhile, President Erdoğan warned that around one million Syrians could flee to Turkey if there is an exodus from the city of Aleppo, the rebel-held east of which is currently under siege from Syrian and Russianforces.
He said Turkey alone cannot cope with this additional burden, and those who trigger such an influx must consult Turkey on its consequences.
“Those who want to hamper Turkey’s involvement in the Mosul operation are the ones who are uneasy because we spoiled the game in Syria,” Erdoğan said.
“Those who steered 3 million migrants to Turkey thought we could not deal with this burden. But when the outcome was not as they expected, they set their hopes on using terrorist organizations,” he added.
“They are trying to keep us away from Mosul by stalling us with the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK and Daesh,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Both ISIL and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), “are pawns that serve the same purpose and are supported by the same powers,” Erdoğan also stated, without giving details.
The Turkish president also slammed “those who side with the PYD/YPG” as well as the “fanatics of sects such as Baghdad and with Bashar al-Assad, who kills his own people.”
“You are on the wrong path, the fire you are trying to inflame will burn you more than us” Erdoğan said.