Turkey to create buffer zone in Syria in months: Erdogan

<p style="text-align: left;">Turkey is ready to unilaterally create a security zone in northern Syria if one isn't established within the next few months, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday in a speech he made in the eastern Anatolian city of Erzurum.

He asserted that Turkey &ldquo;cannot wait forever&rdquo; to establish the zone as a buffer between Turkey and "terrorists&rdquo;, Erdogan said, referring to the Kurdish forces which were backed by the United States in the fight against the Islamic State. As the United States withdraws its troops from the region, talk of a security zone for northern Syria has emerged, with Erdogan becoming its top proponent.

&ldquo;Our patience is not without limit,&rdquo; Erdogan said.

&ldquo;Our only expectation from our allies: to give logistical support to Turkey,&rdquo; he added. "We're telling the U.S. and Russia, 'If you give us logistical support, we will clear this area, fire and foremost, of IS and all terrorist organization."

U.S. President Donald Trump had raised the idea of a &ldquo;20-mile safe zone&rdquo; in a confusing tweet on Jan. 13. Ankara has since then said Turkey would control the zone, envisioned to hold Syrian refugees. Days after Trump&rsquo;s tweet, Erdogan said he wants Turkey to construct new housing communities in the zone if the coalition forces give material support.

Meanwhile, a Kurdish umbrella organization has said that the Kurdish People&rsquo;s Protection Units (YPG), a U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State, would reject a Turkish-controlled security zone. Ankara views the YPG as an offshoot of armed Kurdish separatists, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who have been fighting the Turkish state since 1984.

Also on Friday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Washington should fulfill its commitment to ensuring the withdrawal of YPG forces from the northern Syrian town of Manbij.

"After we clear Manbij, our goal is to ensure the resettlement of Manbij's native population there," he said, according to quotes published by news site T24.

Reporter&rsquo;s code: 50101

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