Turkey to launch offensive in Syria if YPG not purged: FM
Iran Press TV
Monday, 18 November 2019 7:09 PM
Turkey has threatened to launch another operation in northeastern Syria if the area is not cleared of Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG), who are viewed by Ankara as terrorists.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that Ankara had taken the decision because the United States and Russia had not yet fulfilled agreements signed with the country on northern Syria.
On October 22, Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG militants would pull back 30 kilometers south of Turkey's border with Syria, and security forces from Turkey and Russia would mount joint patrols there.
"If we do not achieve any result, as we had started the operation [before]... we will do whatever is necessary [in northern Syria]," Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by the state-run Turkish Anadolu news agency.
Turkey's top diplomat stressed that his country had no other solution but to purge the region of all terrorist groups, saying, "We should definitely clear of the terror threat just next to us [in northern Syria]."
On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeast Syria in a declared attempt to push YPG fighters away from border areas.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984. The YPG constitutes the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says the Turkish offensive has killed 218 civilians, including 18 children, since its outset. The fighting has also wounded more than 650 people.
Turkish authorities say 20 people have been killed in Turkey by bombardment from Syria, including eight people who were killed in a mortar attack on the town of Nusaybin by YPG militants on October 11.
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