Trump, Erdogan speak over telephone about trade and Syria situation

US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone on Wednesday on a range of issues, including trade and the situation in Syria's Idlib. (AFP/File Photos)
Updated 29 August 2019

Trump, Erdogan speak over telephone about trade and Syria situation

  • Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported the call on Wednesday
  • White House confirmed trade and Idlib situation were discussed

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone on Wednesday on a range of issues, including trade and the humanitarian situation in Idlib, Syria, the White House said on Thursday.

Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported the call on Wednesday, saying the two leaders agreed to cooperate to protect civilians in the Idlib region after jets believed to be Syrian or Russian struck a rebel-held city in northwest Syria.

On Thursday, Erdogan vowed Turkey would not allow the US to delay the establishment of a 'safe zone' in northern Syria.

Ankara and Washington earlier this month agreed after difficult talks to set up a buffer zone between the Turkish border and Syrian areas controlled by the US-backed Kurdish YPG militia.

The NATO allies agreed to set up a joint operations centre which Turkey said at the weekend was at full capacity.

"We will never allow a delay similar to that in Manbij. The process should advance swiftly," Erdogan said, according to CNN Turk broadcaster.

Turkey and the US in May last year agreed a road map including the withdrawal of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from Manbij in northern Syria.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 30 min 45 sec ago

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.