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The Latest: Russia hopes to keep hotline with US in Syria



The latest developments in, and related to, Syria (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

A top Russian official says that Moscow expects that a hotline between Russia and the U.S. military will be kept in place despite the impending U.S. withdrawal from Syria

President Donald Trump announced last week that the U.S. will withdraw all of its 2,000 forces in Syria, a move that will leave control of the oil-rich eastern third of Syria up for grabs. Russia launched its military operation in Syria in 2015 to back its longtime ally President Bashar Assad.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryakov said in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency Tuesday that it would be a "big mistake" to dismantle the hotline that Russia and the US use to prevent potential clashes and said he sees no indications that the Americans would do that.

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2:36 pm

Turkey says it is working with the United States to coordinate the withdrawal of American forces but remains "determined" to clear US allied Kurdish fighters from northeastern Syria.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu customs reporters Tuesday that "if Turkey says it will enter, it will."

For weeks, Turkey has been threatening to Launching a new offensive against the Kurdish fighters, who partnered with the US to drive the Islamic State out of much of northern and eastern Syria. Turkey views the Kurdish forces as terrorists because of their links to an insurgent group inside Turkey.

Cavusoglu says Turkey has the "strength to neutralize" IS on its own. Former phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month.


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