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Media captionWatch as Syrian government forces enter the town of Ain Issa

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to press on with an offensive in northern Syria till his mission to make a “protected zone” is total.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels launched an operation to clear a Kurdish militia from a border region final week, following US troops pulled out.

The Turkish government views the militia as a terrorist group.

Mr Erdogan has also mentioned he will meet the US vice-president on Thursday following all, in spite of appearing to rule it out.

The Turkish president told Sky News on Wednesday that Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would only “meet their counterparts” in Ankara.

“I am standing tall. I will not meet them,” he mentioned. “I will speak when Trump comes.”

Following the comments, a spokeswoman for Mr Pence mentioned he would nonetheless be travelling to Turkey.

Mr Erdogan’s communications director then tweeted a clarification: “He does strategy to meet the US delegation led by @VP tomorrow.”

Fahrettin Altun also integrated a video clip of the president telling Turkish reporters: “For the moment, I am not meeting everyone other than Pence and Pompeo.”

Turkey launched the offensive in northern Syria a week ago to push back from its border members of a Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and make a 32km (20-mile) deep “protected zone” along the Syrian side of the border exactly where up to two million Syrian refugees can be resettled.

The YPG dominates an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has driven the Islamic State (IS) group out of a quarter of Syria more than the previous 4 years with the enable of air strikes by a US-led multinational coalition.

On Sunday, following US troops started withdrawing from the area and Turkish-led forces created gains, the Kurds agreed a deal with the Syrian government for the Syrian army to be deployed on the border to enable repel the Turkish assault.

What did Mr Erdogan say?

In remarks on Wednesday, Mr Erdogan known as on “terror organisations” in northern Syria to lay down their arms in order to finish Turkey’s military operation.

“Our give is that quickly tonight all terrorists must drop their weapons, gear and every thing, destroying their traps and leaving the protected zone we have designated,” he told a meeting of his Justice and Improvement Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group.

He also rejected calls, apparently from foreign leaders, to enter mediation with the group.

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Presidential Press Workplace through Reuters

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Mr Erdogan has rejected US calls for a ceasefire

The Turkish government insists the YPG is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Celebration (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey because 1984 and is designated as a terrorist group by the US and EU.

Mr Erdogan has maintained the offensive will only finish when his planned “protected zone” is cleared of Turkish forces.

Critics of the Trump administration say the withdrawal of US troops from the area gave Turkey a “green light” for the offensive.

The US has repeatedly denied this, and on Monday Washington announced sanctions on Turkish ministries and senior government officials.

Mr Pence and Mr Pompeo are due to travel to the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Thursday.

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On Monday, Mr Pence warned that the US sanctions against Turkey would be escalated “unless and till Turkey embraces an quick ceasefire” and negotiated a lengthy-term settlement on the border.

US President Donald Trump has faced mounting stress to take action against Turkey – a important Nato companion – like from Republicans commonly loyal to his administration.

But on Tuesday Mr Erdogan maintained Turkey “will never ever declare a ceasefire” in spite of US calls.

“They are pressuring us to quit the operation. They are announcing sanctions. Our aim is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions,” the president added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also discussed the predicament with Mr Erdogan in a telephone contact, a Kremlin spokesman mentioned on Wednesday. Mr Erdogan had accepted an invitation to check out Russia for a operating check out this month, the spokesman added.

Russia has vowed it will not let clashes involving Turkish and Syrian forces.

What is the most current on the ground?

Dozens of civilians have reportedly been killed in Turkey’s operation so far and at least 160,000 have fled the region, according to the UN.

The health-related charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) mentioned it had “taken the tricky choice to suspend the majority of its activities and evacuate all its international employees from north-east Syria”.

On Tuesday, Syrian government forces entered the strategic town of Manbij, inside the region exactly where Turkey desires to make its “protected zone”.

Meanwhile, Turkish troops and pro-Turkish, anti-government fighters have also been gathering close to Manbij.

More than the previous two years, hundreds of US troops have visibly patrolled the strategic town, but they left earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Russia – a important ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – mentioned its forces have been patrolling along the “line of speak to” involving Syrian and Turkish forces.

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Media captionThe BBC’s Martin Patience explains what is behind the conflict

For now, Syrian forces have not been deployed involving Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, exactly where Turkey has focused its efforts.

How did we get right here?

Kurdish-led forces have been a important ally of the US in the fight against the IS in Syria.

They described the US withdrawal, which preceded Turkish action, as a “stab in the back”.

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AFP

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A Kurdish Syrian lady cries throughout the funeral of 5 SDF fighters in Ras al-Ain

There are fears the destabilisation could lead to a resurgence of IS, as thousands of former fighters and their relatives are becoming detained in northern Syria.

Hundreds of IS loved ones members are mentioned to have currently escaped from one particular camp.

Analysts say that apart from fighting IS, the Kurds have been basic to the US in limiting the influence of rivals Russia and Iran.



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