Erdogan says Turkish troops to remain in Syria until elections held

BEIRUT — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey won’t withdraw from zones it controls in Syria until its people hold an election.

Erdogan makes the comment in Istanbul on Thursday at the closing of an international forum.

Turkey sent troops into Syria in August 2016 to clear a border area from Islamic State militants. It launched another operation earlier this year it the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin to oust Kurdish militia that it considers to be terrorists from the area.

Erdogan says: “Whenever the people of Syria hold their election — after the election is when we would leave Syria to its owners and withdraw.”

— AP

This picture taken on October 2, 2018 shows Turkish military vehicles driving in a convoy along the main Damascus-Aleppo highway near the town of Kammari in Syria’s Aleppo province. (AFP Photo/Omar Haj Kadour)

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