Dünya Executive - - OVERVIEW -

Turkey is ready for an op­er­a­tion east of the Euphrates River in north­ern Syria, said Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan on Oc­to­ber 5, to clear the re­gion of ter­ror­ists.

Ad­dress­ing the rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment (AK) Party’s 29th Con­sul­ta­tion and As­sess­ment meet­ing in Kizilc­a­haman, a re­treat town in the Ankara cap­i­tal re­gion, Er­do­gan said Turkey aims to es­tab­lish peace east of the Euphrates River by purg­ing the re­gion of ter­ror­ists.

“We have com­pleted our prepa­ra­tions and ac­tion plan. The nec­es­sary in­struc­tions were given. It is maybe to­day or to­mor­row, but the time to clear the way for [our] peace ef­forts which is set and the process has been started. We will carry out a ground and air op­er­a­tion,” Er­do­gan said.

“Our aim is, I stress, to bring peace east of Euphrates,” he added. Turkey rid an area of 4,000 square kilo­me­ters (1,544 square miles) in Syria of ter­ror­ist groups in two sep­a­rate cross-bor­der op­er­a­tions, Er­do­gan said.

Since 2016, Turkey has con­ducted two ma­jor mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in north­west­ern Syria - Op­er­a­tions Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch - to purge the re­gion of the ter­ror­ist groups Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syr­ian branch of the PKK ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

How­ever, a num­ber of lib­er­ated cities - in­clud­ing Al-Bab, Jarablus, Azaz and Afrin - re­main sub­ject to spo­radic ter­ror­ist at­tacks from Tal Ri­faat. “Turkey has to carry out and suc­ceed in this op­er­a­tion [east of Euphrates] for both its na­tional se­cu­rity and [to en­sure] the re­turn of Syr­i­ans in Turkey to their own coun­try,” he stressed.

Turkey has long com­plained about the threat of ter­ror­ists com­ing from east of the Euphrates in north­ern Syria, which neigh­bors its south­ern bor­der, vow­ing to take mil­i­tary ac­tion to pre­vent the for­ma­tion of a “ter­ror­ist cor­ri­dor” there.

Turkey re­peat­edly warned re­lated par­ties of the is­sue of es­tab­lish­ing a safe zone in north­ern Syria, Er­do­gan said.

Wast­ing Turkey’s time

“We have been pa­tient enough. Land pa­trols, air pa­trols [car­ried out with the U.S. in the safe zone], we see that all were a fic­tion,” the pres­i­dent said. Amer­i­can and Turk­ish troops have car­ried out three joint ground pa­trol in the safe zone since Septem­ber 9. While Turkey wel­comes the joint pa­trols, it has also said the U.S. is not do­ing enough to set up the safe zone prop­erly.

On Aug. 7, Turk­ish and U.S. mil­i­tary of­fi­cials agreed to set up a safe zone in north­ern Syria and de­velop a peace cor­ri­dor to fa­cil­i­tate the move­ment of dis­placed Syr­i­ans who want to re­turn home. They also agreed to es­tab­lish a joint op­er­a­tions cen­ter.

“Turkey’s ques­tion to its al­lies is clear,” he said. “Do you rec­og­nize the PKK/YPG as a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion that you are try­ing to cover over un­der the name of the Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces? We have not heard such a state­ment. Even some U.S. of­fi­cials pub­licly ad­mit the PKK and YPG are work­ing to­gether.”

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