Turkey completed preparations to hit terrorist targets in Syria, Defense Minister Akar says

Published 02.03.2019 19:55
Updated 02.03.2019 20:13
emReuters Photo/em
Reuters Photo

Turkey completed preparations to hit terrorist targets in Syria's Manbij and east of Euphrates, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Saturday.

Turkey will defeat terrorism both inside the country and abroad, he said.

Terrorists inside the country were largely neutralized, Akar told a group of veterans and martyrs' families in the eastern Ağrı province, adding that Turkey is committed to putting an end to them.

"We will not allow any terrorist corridor in northern Syria," Akar added, referring to the YPG/PKK, which Turkey has promised to mount an operation against.

"The whole world knows that."

There must be Turkish soldiers in this corridor for the nation's security, he said.

"Turkish army will not endanger our country in any case," Akar said.

Turkey has vowed to carry out a counter-terrorist operation in Manbij, Syria and east of Euphrates following two similar successful operations since 2016.

In December 2018, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that Ankara is in preparations for a third offensive in northern Syria, this time east of the Euphrates, which is dominated by the YPG.

Turkey recognizes the PKK and the YPG as organically linked terrorist groups. The U.S., however, while listing the PKK as a terrorist group, has supported the YPG militarily under the pretext of fighting Daesh. The U.S., despite Ankara's warnings, previously supplied truckloads of military support to the YPG, which functions under the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Previously, Turkey conducted two offensives in northern Syria, Operation Olive Branch and Operation Euphrates Shield. The first was launched by Ankara to clear its borders of Daesh terrorists while the second was to prevent the YPG's ultimate plan of establishing an autonomous region in northern Syria by connecting Afrin to Kobani and Jazeera.

Following the operations, Turkey has also been involved in efforts to rebuild the towns' infrastructure, as well as health and educational institutions. Schools are being renovated and a hospital is being built. Turkey has also helped local people build olive oil facilities in the town, where agriculture is the main source of income for residents.

Thanks to the success of both operations and the post-operation developments in the liberated areas, the numbers of refugees returning to their hometowns have increased in recent months.

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