Turkish President Recep Erdogan stated that the Turkish army would soon begin a new military operation in northern Syria, Anadolu agency reports.
“Turkey has prevented a major humanitarian crisis in Idlib. Now it is time to destroy terrorists operating to the east of the Euphrates river. Our goal is to destroy the terrorists in the area,” he stated.
By terrorists, Erdogan means the Kurdish National People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“We clearly define YPG militants as terrorists, while Ankara’s strategic partners, including the USA, have a different opinion. We are sure that the YPG is a Syrian offshoot of RKK [Workers Party of Kurdistan] and we can prove it. Why then do our strategic partners work together with terrorists, not with Turkey?” he asked.
The east coast of the Euphrates is US military zone of influence. The YPG in the region is an important US ally in the fight against ISIS.
However, Erdogan states that ISIS is no longer a threat to Syria.
“We are told of the threat posed by a terrorist organization controlling a total of 150 square kilometers in Syria. If the question is whether to destroy these terrorists then Turkey is ready to destroy these ISIS terrorists immediately,” said the Turkish leader.
Erdogan said that the United States supports Turkey in word, but in action, they are fighting in Syria “using one group of terrorists against another.”
In January-March 2018, Turkey conducted a military operation in Syria Olive Branch on the West bank of the Euphrates.