Turkey will mount a military operation in northeast Syria, it said on Saturday, after accusing Washington of not doing enough.
The air and ground operation east of the Euphrates river in Syria could start at any time, President Tayyip Erdogan said.
Addressing the ruling Justice and Development, Party’s 29th Consultation and Assessment meeting in Kizilcahaman, a retreat town of capital Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey aims to establish peace east of the Euphrates River by purging the Syrian region from militants.
“We have completed our preparations and action plan, the necessary instructions were given,” Erdogan said, adding:
President Tayyip Erdogan said:
It is maybe today or tomorrow the time to clear the way for [our] peace efforts which is set and the process for them was started. We will carry out a ground and air operation.
Our aim is, I underline it, to shower east of Euphrates with peace…Quoted as saying
Turkey rid an area of 4,000 square kilometers, in Syria of terrorist groups in two separate cross-border operations, Erdogan said.
Militants Warn Erdogan of ‘All-Out War’ in Syria
The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces said on Saturday it would “not hesitate to turn any unprovoked (Turkish) attack into an all-out war” in Northeast Syria, presstv reported.
Erdogan stated earlier his country will launch the air and ground operation East of the Euphrates in Syria after a deadline to jointly establish a so-called safe zone with the US passed.
“We gave all warnings to our interlocutors regarding the East of Euphrates and we have acted with sufficient patience,” Erdogan noted at the opening of his AK Party’s annual camp on Saturday.
“We’ve made our preparations, we’ve made our operation plans, given the necessary instructions,” he added.
According to Erdogan, the military operation will begin “as soon as today or tomorrow”.
On Tuesday, he said Ankara’s patience with the US over the creation of the “safe zone” had run out.
U.S. troops on Sunday conducted a ground patrol in the town of Tal Abyad in Syria’s northern city of Raqqah.
According to local sources, a convoy of seven U.S. armored vehicles conducted a ground patrol in the town controlled by the YPG/PKK terror group.
The YPG/PKK terrorist organization late Saturday forcibly mobilized a group of Arab-origin fighters held by the group to Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn regions near Syria’s border with Turkey.
Also, the YPG/PKK dispatched reinforcements consisting of snipers and improvised explosive devices (IED) with two convoys of military vehicles to the Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn regions. Vehicles also carried military ammunition.
Iran warns Turkey
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday warned Turkey against any military action in Syria, asserting that such moves would violate “Syria’s territorial sovereignty.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday renewed threats to invade northeastern Syria as soon as “today or tomorrow,” where US partner militias, the Syrian Democratic Forces, are stationed. The SDF – who retook large swaths of Syrian land from the so-called Islamic State – has stated it is prepared to defend itself.
Zarif’s comments came during an address to the Iranian Parliament in Tehran, where he brought up recent tensions between Syrian Kurds and the Turkish government, Iran News reported.
“We have stated that the only way to maintain security in Turkey is to establish the (Syrian) central government’s military presence in the border areas, and under the Adana Agreement, this can be done.”
He added that security in Syria could not be established through military operations “against Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”