Preparations complete for Syria military operation, defense ministry says

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 08.10.2019 09:46
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

Turkey has finalized all preparations for a military operation in the area east of the Euphrates River in Syria to establish a safe zone, the National Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

"The establishment of a Safe Zone/Peace Corridor is essential for Syrians' safety and the stability and peace of the region," the ministry said on Twitter.

"Turkish Security Forces will never tolerate the creation of a terror corridor at our borders. All preparations for the operation have been completed," it added.

U.S. military forces began pulling out from the area on Monday hours after White House's withdrawal announcement.

Following the withdrawal process, U.S. President Donald Trump said late Monday that he wasn't "siding with anyone in Syria" with his decision to withdraw troops.

"I am not siding with anybody. We've been in Syria for many years. Syria was supposed to be a short-term hit. We were supposed to be in and out," Trump said during a news conference at the White House.

The Trump administration has ruled out any U.S. support for the operation and warned Ankara of repercussions if Turkey fails to watch over captured Daesh soldiers.

Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.

Turkish leaders have said the U.S. is not doing enough to establish the safe zone, which could house some 2-3 million Syrians who have fled the civil war since 2011.

Turkey has long championed the idea of terrorist-free safe zones in Syria. It has stressed ridding the area of the terrorist YPG, the PKK's Syrian branch with whom the U.S. has partnered in its fight against Daesh, as well as resettling Syrian migrants currently sheltered in Turkey.

Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled the violence to return home.

In its 30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives, including women and children.

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