National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said yesterday that Turkey will not tolerate a terrorist corridor to be established on its southern border, which would threaten the security, peace, and tranquility of Turkey, referring to the presence of the PKK terrorist organization's Syria affiliate in northern Syria and northern Iraq.
"Turkey will never allow establishing of terror corridors along its south borders," Akar said speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA) in a televised interview and highlighted that Turkey will continue its efforts to eliminate threats posed against its security. The U.S.-backed People's Protection Units (YPG), the PKK's Syria offshoot, has been aiming to establish an autonomous region in northern Syria. Turkey says there is no difference between the YPG and the the PKK. The PKK is a terrorist organization, and is listed as an outlawed group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Referring to the Manbij deal reached with the U.S., Akar said that the training started on Oct. 9 and stressed that the process has been continuing in Gaziantep province. "I can tell you joint training on combined patrols in Manbij would start in a few days after the training has been completed," Akar added.
The Manbij agreement was inked between Turkey and the U.S. in early June focusing on the withdrawal of the YPG from the northeastern Syrian province and joint patrols to be conducted by the militaries of both countries in order to establish stability in the region. The slow progress in the implementation of the Manbij deal is also causing distress in Ankara, as the terrorist group continues to tighten its grip on these areas by establishing political entities due to the delays on the part of the U.S.
In relation to the YPG's digging trenches in Manbij, the defense minister stated that "they would be buried in them." He added that in Afrin and other regions they used the same methods yet they have failed. Akar underscored "we have been following the issue closely and will take the necessary measures when the appropriate time has come." Stressing that the true owner of Manbij is its indigenous people who have fled from war and persecution, Akar said that the fundamental purpose of Turkey is to ensure local people have a safe return to their homes. He said that previously Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield cleared an area up to 2,000 km from terrorists and neutralized 3,000 Daesh terrorists in the area.