Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that his country would hold off on a military operation against the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, citing a telephone conversation this past week with U.S. President Donald Trump, the Voice of America reports.
"Our phone call with Mr. Trump, as well as the contacts of our diplomatic and security units, and the statements from the American side have led us to wait a little longer," Erdogan said during an awards ceremony in Istanbul.
"Of course, this is not an open waiting period," he said, underlining his country's intention to carry out an assault in "the coming months" on the Kurdish fighters, known as the People's Protection Units (YPG), who played a key role in the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
The Turkish military launched an operation against the YPG in January and took over the Kurdish town of Afrin in northwestern Syria. The military last week threatened another incursion against YPG, this time vowing to eliminate the fighters from all of northeastern Syria, where about 2,000 U.S. special forces have operated, helping in the fight against IS and serving as a buffer in Turkish-Kurdish clashes.
The recent Turkish threats have forced many civilians to evacuate their homes on both sides of the border to avoid being targeted.