Er­doğan sig­nals op­er­a­tion against YPG east of Euphrates

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Politics -

PRES­I­DENT Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan said Fri­day that a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion against the PKK ter­ror­ist group’s Syr­ian af­fil­i­ate is im­mi­nent and that Turkey is de­ter­mined to elim­i­nate all ter­ror­ists pos­ing a threat to its na­tional se­cu­rity.

“With the sup­port of our com­man­dos, hope­fully, we will soon de­stroy the ter­ror nests in the east of the Euphrates River,” Er­doğan said at a mil­i­tary grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony held for Turk­ish Spe­cial Forces in the south­west­ern prov­ince of Is­parta, re­fer­ring to PKK’s Syria af­fil­i­ate, the Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG).

The YPG is the dom­i­nant group in the U.S.-backed Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces (SDF), which con­trols al­most all the ter­ri­tory in the east of the river com­pris­ing some onethird of the ter­ri­tory of Syria, ex­cept for the Bashar As­sad regime-con­trolled area near Deir el-Zour and the Daesh-held area near the Iraqi bor­der.

The SDF also con­trols the dis­tricts of Man­bij and Tabqah on the right bank of the river.

Turkey con­sid­ers the YPG’s pres­ence on its bor­der with Syria, with Man­bij in par­tic­u­lar, a grave threat against its na­tional se­cu­rity.

Turk­ish and Amer­i­can forces are cur­rently train­ing to con­duct joint pa­trols in Man­bij, but Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties have re­peat­edly ac­cused their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts for de­lay­ing the YPG’s with­drawal from the Syr­ian prov­ince and the group’s pres­ence in the dis­trict has been ex­pressed as a “red line” by Turk­ish of­fi­cials in terms of the coun­try’s na­tional se­cu­rity.

Turk­ish troops and their al­lied Free Syr­ian Army (FSA) have cap­tured bor­der­ing Jarablus, al-Rai and al-Bab dis­tricts from the Daesh ter­ror­ist group through Op­er­a­tion Euphrates Shield launched in Au­gust 2016. While Daesh ter­ror­ists were on the re­treat, the YPG also ad­vanced to Man­bij through a bridge­head and cap­tured the town.

The Turk­ish mil­i­tary and the FSA also cleared the Afrin dis­trict from the YPG in Op­er­a­tion Olive Branch, launched in Janu- ary 2018. Turk­ish se­cu­rity forces “cause great dis­tress” to ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions, Pres­i­dent Er­doğan said, speak­ing at a joint open­ing cer­e­mony in Is­parta in the same day. “Turkey will ‘do what­ever is nec­es­sary’ re­gard­ing Syria’s Man­bij,” Er­doğan said.

“They [the U.S.] promised us. They said: ‘We will leave here in 90 days.’ They did not leave,” Er­doğan said.

“There is no room for ter­ror­ists in Turkey’s fu­ture,” he em­pha­sized.

TRAITORS ELIM­I­NATED FROM MIL­I­TARY

Er­doğan also said Turkey dealt a ma­jor blow to the mem­bers of ter­ror­ist or­ga­niza- tions at home. He added Turkey re­moved “traitors” in the army af­ter a failed coup at­tempt staged by the Gülenist Ter­ror Group (FETÖ) on July 15, 2016.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fe­tul­lah Gülen or­ches­trated the de­feated coup, which left 251 peo­ple killed and nearly 2,200 in­jured. Ankara also ac­cuses FETÖ of be­ing be­hind a long-run­ning cam­paign to over­throw the state through the in­fil­tra­tion of Turk­ish in­sti­tu­tions, par­tic­u­larly the mil­i­tary, po­lice, and ju­di­ciary.

Speak­ing about the econ­omy, Er­doğan said Turkey con­tin­ues to main­tain in­vest­ments and ex­pand its econ­omy.

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