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Erdogan defies international outcry over Syria incursion

Turkey has faced a barrage of recrimination for launching a military operation against Syrian Kurdish militants, but its president vows to maintain the “struggle for survival,” even as the death toll mounts and a humanitarian crisis looms.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a joint press conference with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic after their meeting in Belgrade, Serbia, October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Djordje Kojadinovic - RC1C7D7FF7D0

ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday fended off an international backlash over Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria that has wrought US economic sanctions and a widening arms embargo from Europe as fighting with Kurdish militants entered its seventh day.

Russia stepped into the lurch left by the United States’ about-face last week to abandon its Kurdish partners in Syria. Russian fighters Tuesday took over a US base and began patrolling a new frontline between Turkey and the Syrian government army that Moscow backs after the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) turned to Damascus to ward off the Turkish assault.

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