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Erdogan Claims Success At Clearing Stretch Of Syrian Border


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's incursion into northern Syria has been successful, with a 400-square-kilometer area cleared of Islamic State and Kurdish YPG militia forces.

Erdogan stressed on September 1 that he views both groups as equally threatening to Turkey, although the Kurdish group has been a top U.S. ally in fighting IS.

Erdogan said the Syrian Kurdish militia has failed to abide by its agreement to retreat to east of the Euphrates River. He repeated his charge that the Syrian Kurds, who he says are allied with Kurdish separatist militants who have staged bomb attacks in Turkey, are "terrorists."

"Nobody can expect us to allow a terror corridor on our southern border," he said.

Erdogan also said Turkey wants to establish a "safe zone" on the Syrian border, though other world powers have not backed the idea.

While taking issue with Erdogan on the Syrian Kurds, the Pentagon agreed with Erdogan's claim of progress at clearing the border on September 1.

A Pentagon spokesman said IS now retains control of only about 25 kilometers of border with Turkey near the Syrian town of Al-Rai, and that stretch is likely to be closed soon.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP
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