Trump speaks with Turkey’s Erdogan amid growing tensions in Syria

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President Trump spoke with Turkey’s president on Saturday just days after U.S. forces clashed with Syrian government forces near an area where Turkish forces are attempting to resettle thousands of Syrian refugees.

Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere told pool reporters Sunday evening that Trump had spoken with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a day earlier and “expressed concern over the violence in Idlib, Syria,” referring to recent clashes between Turkish and Syrian government forces in the region.

“Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. President Trump expressed concern over the violence in Idlib, Syria, and thanked President Erdogan for Turkey’s efforts to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe,” Deere said.

“President Trump conveyed the United States’ desire to see an end to Russia’s support for the Assad regime’s atrocities and for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict. President Trump also reiterated that continued foreign interference in Libya would only serve to worsen the situation.”

Clashes occurred earlier this month between pro-government forces and Turkish military units in northeastern Syria, the site of a military assault by Turkish forces last year as part of an operation by Turkey’s government to resettle more than one million Syrian refugees.

Days ago the region was subject to further violence as U.S. forces fired on pro-government militants who were allegedly throwing rocks at them, killing one Syrian.

“After Coalition troops issued a series of warnings and de-escalation attempts, the patrol came under small arms fire from unknown individuals. In self-defense, Coalition troops returned fire,” said a coalition forces spokesman.

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