Turkey prevented formation of terror state near its border, FM says

Published 23.10.2019 10:27
Updated 23.10.2019 11:49
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu speaks at the Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk on Wed. Oct. 23, 2019 (AA Photo)
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu speaks at the Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk on Wed. Oct. 23, 2019 (AA Photo)

Turkey's efforts have successfully averted PKK's Syrian offshoot People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists' plans to establish a 'terror state' in northern Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Wednesday.

Çavuşoğlu noted that the terrorists will retreat 30 kilometers south of the Turkish border in Syria.

The Syrian city of Qamishli was excluded from joint Turkish-Russian patrols as to avoid confrontations with the Assad regime, which is currently unable to enforce the Adana Agreement [signed in 1998], the foreign minister told Anadolu Agency's Editor's Desk.

"The Assad regime has no capacity to implement 1998 Adana deal between Turkey and Syria," Çavuşoğlu said, adding that Ankara does not have direct contacts with Damascus.

Touching upon the future of Syria, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey's Operation Peace Spring became a milestone.

He noted that the vast majority of the people living in northern Syria are Arabs, who will be participating in the administration.

"If there are Kurds, they too will also take part in the administration," he added.

With regard to the return of Syrian refugees to their homes, Çavuşoğlu said one of Turkey's goals was to establish security for their safe return.

"As neighboring countries, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon want to host a joint conference on the return of Syrian refugees to their homes [in areas liberated from terrorists]," he said.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the People's Protection Units (YPG), on Oct. 9.

The operation, conducted in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aimed to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.

The operation was paused after Turkey and the United States reached an agreement on Oct. 17, stipulating the withdrawal of YPG terrorists within 120 hours.

The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

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.

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 nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.

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