Turkey, Russia to clear N.Syria of terrorists

Turkey and Russia will clear the area 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with Syria of YPG/PKK terrorists, and security forces of the two countries will conduct joint patrols, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Friday at the 4th International Turkish-German Symposium.

Turkey had made an agreement with Russia on Oct. 22, and with this agreement, Russia accepted “the legitimacy of the Operation Peace Spring,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said, speaking at the symposium held at Akdeniz University in Turkey’s southern province Antalya.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

On Oct. 22, Erdogan and Putin held a meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with northern Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will conduct joint patrols there.

Terrorists in Qamishli will also be removed, but patrol activities will not be conducted in that area, as Syrian regime forces have been there from the beginning [of the crisis], Cavusoglu said.

“YPG/PKK terrorists will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat. So, we took what we wanted with the two agreements, with the least damage.

“This would not have happened if we did not do the operation,” he added.

He reminded of Turkey’s other operations in northern Syria and underlined Turkey’s efforts at the global stage, explaining the necessity of the operations in Afrin against YPG/PKK terrorists.

He accused France and Israel of aiming to establish a YPG/PKK state, saying: “We broke a big game. They have been planning to establish a YPG/PKK state. This was led by France and Israel. 

“I am speaking clearly. No one has ever said, ‘No, we did not make such an effort’,” he said. 

“Unfortunately, our friend Germany, together with France, was also among those in the UN and the European Union,” he added.

Referring to the decision making process and background of the Operation Peace Spring, Cavusoglu said: “The U.S. did not keep its promise.

“Even during these processes, the U.S. continued to provide weapons, which were brought from Iraq, to the YPG [YPG/PKK] terrorist organization”.

“They also continued to train YPG/PKK terrorists. We were patient, and in the meantime, we warned them,” he added.

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 the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

  • Writing by Havva Kara Aydin
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