All eyes will be on the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday evening, when the 120-hour pause of Ankara’s counter-terror offensive ends.
On Oct. 17, Turkey after talks with a top U.S. official announced a brief respite in its Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria to allow for the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from a planned safe zone.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at a meeting in Ankara also agreed to a 20-mile (32-kilometer) safe zone south of the Turkish border in Syria, where Ankara wants to accommodate more than three million refugees it is currently hosting.
Despite the deal with the U.S., YPG/PKK terrorists shot 36 harassing fires in northern Syria, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry.
The Defense Ministry added that a total of 765 YPG/PKK terrorists, including seniors, were neutralized as part of the country’s counter-terrorism campaign in northern Syria.
Stressing that Turkey has liberated a total of 111 settlements in northern Syria including Ras al Ayn and Tel Abyad districts, it added that 1,500 square kilometers (579 square miles) of the territory was rescued from the terror group.
Launched on Oct. 9, Operation Peace Spring aims to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear east of the Euphrates River in Syria of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkey has been constantly urging the U.S. to abide by its promises under the agreement.
Erdogan said if the U.S. breaks the agreement, Turkey will resolutely continue its operation in northern Syria.
“If promises given to Turkey are not kept as in the past, we will resume the operation after pause,” he stressed.
In the next phase of resolving the conflict, the Turkish president will meet his Russian counterpart in the Black Sea city of Sochi on Tuesday.
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