Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday Turkey will not allow the safe zone process it is working on with the United States to be delayed, and suffer the same fate as an agreement on the Syrian town of Manbij.
The Manbij roadmap was an agreement made between the NATO allies last year, dictating a complete withdrawal of the YPG terrorists from the town.
Turkey and the United States agreed on Wednesday to establish a joint operation center in Turkey to coordinate and manage a planned safe zone in northeast Syria, a move that appeared to reduce the chance of imminent Turkish military action.
Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria — Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch — to purge the region of terrorist groups, most notably the PKK/YPG, the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.
Turkey had long signaled a possible offensive in areas held by the YPG east of the Euphrates. However, last December the government decided to postpone the operation for a while after U.S. President Donald Trump decided that Washington, the main backer of the terrorist group, would withdraw its troops from Syria.
The withdrawal decision was quickly interpreted as an intention to halt U.S. support for the YPG, which Turkey sees as a terrorist organization. Yet, in the face of mounting hints that the country will maintain its support to the terrorist organization and contradictory statements from officials on the pullout process, officials from Ankara and Washington have been discussing setting up a 32-km deep safe zone to ease Turkey's security concerns. However, no actions were taken also on this issue.