Turkey’s president says Kurds have not withdrawn as US says

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s president denied Friday claims by U.S. officials that Syrian Kurdish rebels fighting Turkish forces in northern Syria have withdrawn east of the Euphrates River.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said as he departed for the G20 meeting in China, “they tell us that YPG (a Syrian Kurdish force) has crossed east of the Euphrates. And we say: no they did not.”

Erdogan is apparently referring to U.S. officials saying earlier this week that the Kurds have mostly moved to the east of the river, as demanded by Turkey.

Last week, Turkey sent troops across the border to help Syrian rebels capture the town of Jarablus. But then clashes broke out with the Kurds. Turkey does not want the rebels it considers terrorists to form a corridor on its border.