Erdogan rejects Russian proposal to return Afrin to Syria

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Turkish forces swept into Afrin in March, raising their flags in the town center and declaring full control after an eight-week operation to drive out Kurdish YPG forces.

"The president of the United States says "We're going to get out of Syria very soon" and then others say, "No, we are staying", Ibrahim Kalin said, referring to recent comments from Trump and other officials.

President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman also told reporters that Turkey was talking to Russian Federation about the Syrian town of Tal Rifaat and would not need to intervene in the area given Moscow's assurances that the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia was not present there.

But he said Washington had to clear up confusion in its Syria policy which in the last days saw Trump signal a USA pullout from the country before the White House stated it was not yet happening.

"Obviously it does create a lot of confusion on the ground, as well as for us".

Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group that has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984. "We would like to see some clarity, for them to decide".

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A minute later the United States, France, Britain, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Kuwait, Peru and Ivory Coast called for a meeting to discuss the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

But Erdogan on Tuesday steered clear of criticizing Assad, only noting his telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin who is the chief ally of the Damascus regime along with Iran.

But Turkey maintains that preserving the territorial integrity of Syria is a common goal of Ankara and Damascus, and that Turkish troops would not attack Syrian government forces.

Erdogan had warned that Turkey would seek to seize the town of Tal Rifaat after Afrin.

"But we will ensure through our own channels that that is the case".

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