“Mr. Trump has vowed that the United States would leave the east of the Euphrates. We hope that this promise will be fulfilled in the near future. We do not want to live under threat and are ready to do everything necessary to eliminate it”, Erdogan told the Turkish TRT broadcaster.
The buffer zone in the north of Syria should be controlled by Turkey and it will do everything possible to maintain security in the area, the Turkish president noted.
In December, Erdogan announced that Ankara was ready to launch a military operation against Kurdish fighters on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River as well as in Syria’s Manbij, located near the Turkish border, if the United States did not remove the militia from there.
The Turkish leader later said that he had decided to postpone the start of the military operation in Syria after a phone conversation with Trump on 14 December, during which the US president also revealed his plans to withdraw troops from Syria.
Turkey has been opposing the presence of Kurdish militia in the north of Syria, claiming that the militants posed a threat to the country’s security. In January 2018, Turkey launched a military operation in city of Afrin against the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is regarded by Turkey as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara. Damascus, in turn, has called the operation an aggression.
In late December, however, the YPG surrendered Manbij to the Syrian government forces amid fears that Ankara would indeed launch a military operation against them.
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