Turkey Warns of Launching Own Offensive in Northern Syria
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey intends to launch its own long-promised military operation against Kurdish forces in Syria to the east of the Euphrates River if the United States fails to meet Ankara's conditions for a safe zone within several weeks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
"If within a few weeks our military does not control the east of the Euphrates, we'll implement our own plan of operation. We do not have a lot of time and patience. Let no one try to mislead us using the IS [Daesh] as an excuse", the Turkish president said at a military university's graduation ceremony in Istanbul.
Earlier in the month, Turkey and the United States have opened a joint control centre for the prospective buffer zone, but remain at odds over the specifics of the forces structure that will operate in the area.
Mainly-Kurdish militia from the People's Protection Units (YPG) has played a considerable role in the Syrian war serving as the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
Turkey claims that both organizations are offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and treats them as terrorist groups.
Ankara has been fighting the Kurdish militia in Syria for years, despite Damascus' protests against Turkey's presence in Syria, which it calls illegal.
In 2018, Turkey and the United States agreed on a plan to withdraw all Kurdish militants from Manbij and allow the local population to set up a new city council. However, there has not been any progress on this matter since, according to Ankara, Washington has been putting off carrying out the road map.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that Ankara would not allow Washington to impede establishing safe zones in northern Syria, as was the case with the Syrian region of Manbij, where the US reportedly did not keep its commitments to Turkey.
*Daesh (Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL, IS) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries.
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