Turkey’s counter-terror operation in northern Syria will resume if YPG/PKK terror group does not withdraw from the region, said the country’s foreign minister on Monday.
“We have 35 hours left. If they don’t withdraw, our operation will resume. This is also what we agreed with the Americans,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said, in his opening speech at the TRT World Forum which kicked off in Istanbul.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring 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.
“If all the YPG/PKK elements withdraw from this region, we can halt the operation,” he said.
On Oct. 17, Turkey agreed to pause the operation for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned safe zone.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also agreed on a 20-mile (32-kilometer) safe zone south of the Turkish border in Syria.
Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey is against terrorist organizations, not Kurds, referring to the ongoing operation.
Turkey has never used chemical weapons in its history, he added, responding to a smear campaign by YPG/PKK supporters.
Ankara wants to clear east of the Euphrates River 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.
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