Turkey threat­ens to clear Kurds from border if Sochi deal fails

The National - News - - NEWS -

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan yes­ter­day said that Turkey would “clear ter­ror­ists” on its border in north­ern Syria if Syr­ian Kur­dish mili­tia did not with­draw by the end of a dead­line agreed with Rus­sia.

“If the ter­ror­ists are not cleared at the end of the 150 hours, we will take con­trol and clean it our­selves,” Mr Er­do­gan said dur­ing a tele­vised speech in Is­tan­bul, re­fer­ring to the YPG mili­tia viewed as a “ter­ror­ist” off­shoot of Kur­dish in­sur­gents in Turkey.

Mr Er­do­gan and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin agreed to a deal in the Black Sea re­sort of Sochi on Tues­day in which Mos­cow will “fa­cil­i­tate the re­moval” of the fight­ers and their weapons from within 30 kilo­me­tres of the border.

The dead­line ends at 6pm lo­cal time on Tues­day.

The Turk­ish leader also re­peated a pre­vi­ous threat to “open the gates” for refugees to head to Europe if Euro­pean coun­tries did not sup­port Ankara’s plans for a “safe zone” in north-east Syria where he wants to re­set­tle the refugees re­sid­ing in Turkey.

The op­er­a­tion be­gan af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with­drew Amer­i­can forces from north­ern Syria, green­light­ing Turkey’s in­cur­sion, which be­gan on Oc­to­ber 9.

Rus­sia yes­ter­day con­demned the US for send­ing ar­moured ve­hi­cles and com­bat troops into eastern Syria to pro­tect the coun­try’s oil­fields.

US De­fence Sec­re­tary Mark Esper said the move is aimed at keep­ing the fields from po­ten­tially fall­ing into the hands of ISIS mil­i­tants.

But Rus­sian min­istry spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenko­v said “what Wash­ing­ton is do­ing now, the seizure and con­trol of oil­fields in eastern Syria un­der its armed con­trol, is, quite sim­ply, in­ter­na­tional state ban­ditry”.

He said “all hy­dro­car­bon de­posits and other min­er­als lo­cated on the ter­ri­tory of Syria do not be­long to the ISIS ter­ror­ists, and even less to the ‘Amer­i­can de­fend­ers from ISIS ter­ror­ists’, but ex­clu­sively to the Syr­ian Arab Repub­lic.

“The real cause of this il­le­gal ac­tion by the United States in Syria lies far from the ideals that Wash­ing­ton has pro­claimed and from the slo­gans of fight­ing ter­ror­ism,” Mr Konashenko­v said.

Turkey out­right re­jected an­other pro­posal for north­ern Syria from Ger­many yes­ter­day. Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu said that Ankara does not find Ber­lin’s pro­posal for cre­at­ing an in­ter­na­tional “safe zone” re­al­is­tic.

Speak­ing at a joint news con­fer­ence with his Ger­man coun­ter­part Heiko Maas, Mr Cavu­soglu also said Turkey would not tol­er­ate any hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in north-east Syria and would in­ves­ti­gate any al­le­ga­tions that they had taken place.

Turkey sent com­bat troops into north-east Syria this month tar­get­ing Kur­dish YPG mili­tia.

Turkey out­right re­jected an­other pro­posal for north­ern Syria from Ger­many yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.