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Turkey fails to win green light for safe zone at Syria summit

Iran and Russia’s leaders tell President Recep Tayyip Erdogan he must acquire consent from Damascus to launch an offensive in northeast Syria against Kurdish forces.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walk during their meeting in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia, 14 February 2019. Sergei Chirikov/Pool via REUTERS - RC1506773F00

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s plans to create a buffer zone in northern Syria after the United States withdraws its forces suffered a setback on Thursday, when Russia and Iran said at a summit that any such zone would require the approval of their ally, Damascus.

At their tripartite meeting in the Russian city of Sochi, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian and Iranian counterparts welcomed President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out American troops fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, with Vladimir Putin calling it “a positive step.”

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