Turkey says won’t leave Syria until elections are held there

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

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

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