Erdogan to discuss Syrian deployment in 'safe zone' with Putin next week

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan talks media members in Istanbul, Turkey, October 18, 2019. Murat Kamaci/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he would discuss the deployment of Syrian government forces in a planned “safe zone” in northern Syria during talks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin next week, but warned Ankara would “implement its own plans” if a solution was not reached.

Turkey agreed with the United States on Thursday to pause its military offensive in northeastern Syria for five days while Kurdish fighters withdrew from a “safe zone”. Erdogan will visit Sochi for emergency talks with Putin on what steps to take next.

Speaking at an opening ceremony in the central Turkish province of Kayseri, Erdogan also said Turkey would “crush the heads” of Kurdish militants in northern Syria if they did not withdraw from the area during the 120-hour period.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Mark Potter