Cyprus Mail
Turkey World

Turkey prepared for possible Syria border operation, says Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a “safe zone” in northeast Syria this month.

“Our preparations along our borders are complete,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.

NATO allies Turkey and the U.S. have started joint land and air patrols along part of the border strip, but Ankara says Washington is moving too slowly to establish a sufficiently large safe zone to push Syrian Kurdish forces from the border.

Turkey has been angered by U.S. support for Kurdish-led forces which fought Islamic State in Syria. It considers the Kurdish YPG fighters a terrorist organisation and wants them removed from more than 400 km (250 miles) of border.

The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces has said they will pull back up to 14 km in some areas. Turkey says the U.S. had agreed that the “safe zone” should extend 32 km into Syria.

Erdogan reiterated complaints over U.S. support for the Kurdish fighters, saying Washington was providing them with arms.

“We have no wish to come face to face with the U.S.” he said. “However, we cannot afford to overlook the support that the U.S. is giving to a terrorist organisation.”

His comments about border preparations came a day after two security sources said doctors have been stationed in southern Turkish provinces to prepare for a possible incursion into Syria.

One source said doctors’ leave had been suspended. “We have been preparing for a long time,” the source said. “The operation can be conducted whenever deemed necessary.”

Turkey has already launched two military incursions into northern Syria since 2016, targeting Islamic State and YPG forces west of the Euphrates



Related posts

Trump votes in Florida before rallies, Biden heads to Pennsylvania

Reuters News Service

Erdogan: Macron needs treatment over attitude to Muslims

Reuters News Service

Polish President Duda infected with coronavirus; Swiatek goes into quarantine

Reuters News Service

New clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh after Washington talks

Reuters News Service

Egypt begins voting to elect new parliament

Reuters News Service

U.S. sets single-day record for COVID-19 cases during new surge

Reuters News Service