The Latest: Turkey, Russia discuss Syria truce efforts
Jan. 31, 2018
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
Turkish officials say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed to "accelerate" efforts to establish Turkish observation posts in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province.
The officials said the agreement was reached during a telephone call between the two leaders on Wednesday.
The two spoke a day after a Turkish military convoy was targeted by a car bomb in Idlib, where Turkey is enforcing a "de-escalation zone" as part of an agreement reached between Turkey, Russia and Iran. One civilian personnel was killed in the attack.
During their conversation, the two leaders also agreed that a Syria peace conference held Monday in the Russian city of Sochi —where an agreement to draft a new constitution for Syria was announced — was an "important achievement," according to the officials.
The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with Turkish government rules.
— Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey
Turkish media reports say two more rockets fired from Syria have struck a Turkish border town, wounding one person.
State-run Anadolu Agency says the rockets, fired from the Syrian Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin, hit a road and an empty house in the town of Reyhanli on Wednesday. One person was hurt in the attack, the private Dogan news agency reported.
Earlier, a teenage girl was killed when a rocket hit her home in Reyhanli, bringing to four the death toll in multiple rockets attacks on Reyhanli and the border town of Kilis since Turkey launched its cross-border operation to drive out a Syrian Kurdish militia from Afrin.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says the French president has a "flawed understanding" of Turkey's cross-border offensive in northwestern Syria.
Yildirim's remarks came in response to comments by French President Emmanuel Macron who warned Turkey against invading the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin.
Yildirim says that "the whole world knows and should know that Turkey does not operate with the mentality of an invader." The Turkish premier spoke on Wednesday during a joint news conference with visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Turkey launched the military offensive against Afrin on Jan. 20 to drive out the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, a militia it says is an extension of the outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.
Macron earlier told French newspaper Le Figaro that Turkey must coordinate with allies and that its operation must be limited to fighting terror.
French President Emmanuel Macron is warning Turkey against invading a northern Syrian enclave where Ankara is battling Syrian Kurdish fighters whom it considers to be terrorists, and to respect Syria's sovereignty.
Macron says in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro that Turkey must coordinate with allies, and that its operation must be limited to fighting terror.
Macron says he will have a discussion with Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the coming days to tell him that the military offensive against Afrin should involve talks "between Europeans, and more widely between allies, because it changes the nature of this Turkish incursion."
Turkey launched a military offensive against Afrin on Jan. 20 to drive out the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, which is says are an extension of the outlawed Kurdish rebels inside Turkey.
Macron says that "if it turned out that this operation had to take another turn than an action to fight against a potential terror threat at the Turkish border, and that it was an invasion operation, at that moment, this operation would pose a real problem for us."
Rockets fired from northern Syria into a Turkish border town on Wednesday killed a teenage girl and wounded another person, Turkey's state-run news agency reported.
Anadolu Agency said two rockets were fired by Syrian Kurdish fighters in the enclave of Afrin and struck a house and a garden wall in the town of Reyhanli.
Two people were hospitalized after the attack. One of them, 17-year-old Fatma Avlar, died from her wounds, the agency said.
It was the latest in a string of rocket attacks on Reyhanli and the border town of Kilis since Jan. 20, when Turkey's military launched a cross-border operation to drive out the Syrian Kurdish militia from Afrin.
The attacks have so far killed four people, including Avlar. Two of the victims were Syrian refugees.