On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country will take steps to create “safe zones” across northern Syria, including in areas east of the Euphrates, held by the US-backed Kurdish forces.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the country would take steps to create “safe zones” across northern Syria, including in areas held by the US-backed Kurdish forces.
Speaking ahead of the UN General Assembly on Sunday (September 23), Erdogan vowed to clear the region controlled by the Syrian Kurdish forces, who are allied with the United States.
Turkey, however, views them as “terrorists”.
“God willing, in the upcoming period, we will increase safe zones within Syria, also encompassing eastern Euphrates,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan also vowed that northern Syria would not be a “terror corridor,” citing Turkish incursions in 2016 and 2018 to the west of the Euphrates River.
Turkey launched operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 to push back Islamic State (ISIS) and Syrian Kurdish fighters from a swathe of northern Syria west of the Euphrates River, including the towns of Al-Bab, Al-Rai, and Jarablus.
It launched a second incursion into Syria in January against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin region.
Turkey has been infuriated with Washington’s support for the YPG, which Ankara sees as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
In a move long sought by Turkey, the NATO allies agreed in June to implement a roadmap for the northern Syrian city of Manbij, where Ankara had threatened to push its ground offensive despite the US troops stationed there.