Russia said it was working to prevent a conflict between advancing Turkish and Syrian government forces on Wednesday, as Turkey's president defied growing pressure and sanctions from Western allies for a ceasefire in northern Syria. Russia moved quickly to further entrench its leadership role in the region after President Trump ordered the pullout of American forces in northeastern Syria, the AP reports. The American move effectively abandoned the Kurdish fighters who were allied with the US and cleared the way for Turkey's invasion aimed at crushing them. America's abrupt reversal pushed the Kurds to strike a deal with the Russia-backed government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Late on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed he would not accept a ceasefire in northern Syria, despite growing pressure from the US and Europe. Speaking to a group of journalists, Erdogan said Turkey would only consider a ceasefire once it had cleared the border region of Kurdish fighters that it considers a threat for links to an insurgency within its own territory. On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is committed to ensuring security in the region as it works to mediate between the Syrian government and Turkey. Erdogan told journalists that he had rejected US offers to mediate. He also said Turkey was "not concerned" by US sanctions.
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