Turkey to launch east of Euphrates operation “any moment now” – Erdogan

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A Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighter holds a makeshift Turkish flag as he patrols on a road near Azaz, Syria January 21, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

The anti-terror operation to the east of the Euphrates River follows two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria. Both were meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Istanbul, Turkey. (December 16, 2018)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters in Istanbul, Turkey. (December 16, 2018) (Reuters)

Turkey may begin its new military operation in Syria at “any moment now,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, adding that US President Donald Trump had given a positive response to Turkey’s plans for an operation east of the Euphrates River.

“We can start our operation any moment now in the Syrian territory at any place especially along the 500-kilometre border, without harming the US soldiers,” Erdogan said at a rally in the Turkish city of Konya.

“Turkey will do what is necessary regarding terror corridors east of Euphrates River. If they do not leave, we’ll remove them. Because they are disturbing us,” he added.

Ankara and Washington have long been at odds over Syria policy, where the US has backed the YPG, the Syrian wing of the PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by both Turkey and the US.

Ankara has repeatedly voiced frustration about what it says are delays in the implementation of a deal with the US to clear the YPG from the town of Manbij, just west of the Euphrates.

The anti-terror operation to the east of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been suggesting for months, follows two cross-border Turkish operations into Syria – Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch – which were launched to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.

More than 40,000 people, including women and children, have been killed since the PKK launched its violent terror campaign in Turkey in 1984.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies
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