Sunday 6 October 2019 | 3:22 PM Damascus Local Time
  • ‘Allies haven’t obeyed’ Trump’s call for Syria: Erdogan


    (Agencies) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the United States administration of not obeying the Syrian policy of U.S. President Donald Trump on the issue of the east of the Euphrates in Syria.

    “Trump brought up the issue of withdrawal, the people next to him did not follow the instructions yet,” Erdogan said, addressing the closing session of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) camp in Ankara.

    “Trump came to the point,” Turkey defends on the issue of the safe zone, Erdogan said.

    “Unfortunately, terrorist organizations such as PKK, PYD and YPG throw javelin around here,” he added.

    Erdogan recalled that Trump was the one who expressed 20 miles depth of safe zone into northern Syria.

    In a Twitter post in January, Trump proposed the establishment of a 20-mile (32-kilometer) wide safe zone in Syria’s eastern Euphrates region.

    The violent deadlock presented the conflict-scarred nation with its most serious challenge since the defeat of ISIS two years ago and deepened the political crisis of a country still struggling with the legacy of multiple, unfinished wars since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

    "It has been 16 years of corruption and injustice," said Abbas Najm, a 43-year-old unemployed engineer who was part of a rally Saturday in the square. "We are not afraid of bullets or the death of martyrs. We will keep going and we won't back down."

    Scrambling to contain the demonstrations, Iraqi leaders called an emergency session of parliament Saturday to discuss the protesters' demands. But they lacked a quorum due to a boycott called by influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of parliament's largest bloc. On Friday, al-Sadr called on Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi's government to resign and hold early elections, saying the shedding of blood of Iraqis "cannot be ignored."

    Abdul-Mahdi said in an address to the nation that the protesters' "legitimate demands" had been heard, but he defended the deadly response of security forces as a "bitter medicine" that was necessary for the country to swallow.

    In a desperate attempt to curb the growing rallies, authorities blocked the internet Wednesday and imposed a round-the-clock curfew on Thursday. The curfew, ignored by protesters, was lifted at 5 a.m. Saturday, allowing shops to open and traffic to flow in most of Baghdad before the new demonstrations began.

    As in previous days, protesters waited to gather until the afternoon, when temperatures were cooler and ensured greater participation, and security forces responded by opening fire.

    Health and security officials said more than a dozen people were killed and about 40 wounded in the capital on Saturday when security forces opened fire during protests in various neighborhoods, including central Tahrir Square, which remained closed to cars, and around which special forces and army vehicles deployed in an operation that extended as far as 1.2 miles away. The forces also unleashed tear gas, said health, police and medical officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to brief reporters.

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