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Iran Press TV

Trump warns Turkey's Erdogan against military intervention in Libya

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 02 January 2020 10:57 PM

US President Donald Trump has warned his Turkish counterpart against sending troops to Libya hours after Turkey's parliament approved a bill allowing the government to do so.

The deployment Ankara says aims to shore up the UN-backed government in Tripoli, which has been under sustained attack since April by military strongman General Khalifa Haftar.

In early April, Haftar launched an offensive to capture the capital. Since then Tripoli's southern suburbs have been hit by deadly fighting.

In his phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, Trump warned against "foreign interference" in Libya, according to the White House.

The two also discussed the situation in Syria, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

"The leaders discussed bilateral and regional issues," Gidley said. "President Trump pointed out that foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya."

Trump and Erdogan also called for de-escalation in Idlib, Syria, where Turkey has brought in a new column of military forces and hardware to be deployed in its observation posts there.

"The leaders agreed on the need for de-escalation in Idlib, Syria, in order to protect civilians," Gidley said.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said his country's military would not leave the posts in Idlib, according to a Britain-based war monitor.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the column entered the Syrian territory through Kafr Lusin border crossing, and consisted of armored vehicles as well as trucks carrying logistics.

On Sunday, Akar said it is "out of the question" for Turkey to evacuate its military observation posts in Syria's Idlib.

"We respect the agreement reached with Russia and we expect Russia to abide by this agreement," he said in comments published on Sunday on the Turkish defense ministry's Twitter account.

On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to push militants from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

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