Erdogan: US-Turkey deal on Syria 'correct step toward safe zone'
Iran Press TV
Thu Aug 29, 2019 01:53AM
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country's deal with the US on establishing a "safe zone" in northern Syria was a correct step, and Ankara won't let Washington delay its implementation.
"The agreement which we have reached with the US is a correct step toward establishing a safe zone and removing the YPG from the east of the Euphrates (river)," Erdogan said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters on his way back from meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Erdogan said Ankara would not accept any delay in the implementation of the plan.
"All the personnel, the armored carriers, all are on the border. That is, we are in a position to do everything at any moment," he added.
On August 7, Turkey and the US reached an agreement on the establishment of a joint operation center in the northern part of Syria, in the wake of Ankara's threats to launch an operation against Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) to push them away from the Turkish border.
Turkey views the YPG as the Syria branch of the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
Ankara expects the creation of a 32-kilometer (20-mile) safe zone in northern Syria, and has stressed that it wants the YPG cleared from the region.
Later on August 22, the US and Turkey reached an agreement to immediately launch the first phase of the so-called safe zone plan in northern Syria, irrespective of the Damascus government's strong opposition that the scheme amounts to "blatant aggression" against Syria's territorial integrity.
A source at Syria's Foreign Ministry said earlier this month the US-Turkey agreement amounted to "blatant aggression" against the country's territorial integrity and was a "flagrant violation" of the international law and the UN Charter.
"This agreement has very clearly exposed the US-Turkish partnership in the aggression against Syria, which serves the interest of the Israeli occupation entity and the Turkish expansionist ambitions," the source said.
Damascus has repeatedly called on the US and Turkey to end their illegal military presence and activities on Syrian soil.
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