ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey will launch its personal operation to determine a “secure zone” in Syria if talks with the USA fail to offer Turkish troops management of the realm inside a number of weeks, President Tayyip Erdogan stated on Saturday.
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a joint information convention with Russian President Vladimir Putin following their talks on the sidelines of the MAKS-2019 Worldwide Aviation and Area Salon in Zhukovsky outdoors Moscow, Russia, August 27, 2019. Maxim Shipenkov/Pool by way of REUTERS/File Picture
Washington and Ankara have been at odds over plans for the area in northeastern Syria the place the U.S.-backed drive led by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia have been combating Islamic State.
Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group as a result of it says it has hyperlinks to Kurdish militants in Turkey.
Turkey and the USA have arrange a joint operation middle for the deliberate zone alongside the border with Turkey however have disagreed over the dimensions of the zone or the command construction of the forces to function there.
“We should not have a lot time or endurance concerning the secure zone which might be established alongside our complete border east of the Euphrates (river),” Erdogan stated in a speech at a commencement ceremony on the Nationwide Protection College in Istanbul.
“If our troopers don’t management the area inside a number of weeks, we’ll put our personal operation plan into impact,” he stated, including that he wished Turkish troopers to start out organising the “secure zone” in two to 3 weeks.
He didn’t say what the operation plan would entail, however he has beforehand warned that Turkey would mount a cross-border offensive by itself to clear the YPG militia from its border if vital.
U.S. President Donald Trump proposed the secure zone final 12 months, having introduced plans to withdraw U.S. particular forces from northern Syria however he later suspended the plan to make sure Washington’s Kurdish allies can be protected.
An official within the YPG-led alliance stated on Tuesday that the YPG would pull forces and heavy weapons from a strip alongside Syria’s border with Turkey underneath U.S.-Turkish offers.
The YPG withdrew from the Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain border positions in current days, proving it was critical about ongoing talks, the Kurdish-led authority in north and east Syria stated.
U.S. assist for the YPG has enraged Turkey, which views the militia as a terrorist group intently tied to the Kurdistan Employees Celebration (PKK) militant group which has fought a decades-old insurgency in southeast Turkey.
Ankara, the USA and European Union designate the PKK as a terrorist group.
Ankara and Washington have additionally fallen out over Turkey’s buy of Russian S-400 missile protection techniques, prompting Washington to start eradicating Turkey from its program for manufacturing F-35 jets, which Turkey additionally deliberate to purchase.
Reporting by Daren Butler; Modifying by Alison Williams and Edmund Blair