Friday, 20 July, 2018

Turkish Deputy PM: Turkey Not in a War, Not Occupying Syria

Turkish Deputy PM: Turkey Not in a War, Not Occupying Syria Turkish Deputy PM: Turkey Not in a War, Not Occupying Syria
Stacy Diaz | 30 August, 2016, 19:20

However, Turkish Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş stressed Monday that his country does not plan to stay in Syria, and that Damascus was informed through Moscow about Turkey's "Euphrates Shield Operation".

"The Turkish military will hit the YPG if it does not move east of the Euphrates", he asserted.

Turkish forces pressed on with a two-pronged operation inside Syria against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), shelling over a dozen targets.

The Turkish military said Sunday that its airstrikes in northern Syria killed 25 Kurdish militants and denied that civilians had also been killed.

"They have since fought primarily against US-backed Kurdish forces in the vicinity, and despite officials previously insisting that Turkey was prepared to remain in Syria as long as they felt was necessary, Kurtulmus insisted that they have no intention of being a 'permanent" presence. Immediately afterwards, clashes started to erupt between US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the pro-Turkey factions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will press ahead with its military operation in Syria until the Islamic State (IS) extremist group and the Kurdish Syrian fighters "cease to be threats for our citizens".

The Syrian conflict has claimed the lives of more than 500,000 people, created millions of refugees, and helped the rise of the Islamic State group, which has used Syria to recruit fighters and as a base to plan attacks overseas.

Clashes between Turkish forces and units affiliated with a US -backed Kurdish-led alliance in Syria are 'unacceptable, ' the Pentagon said Monday, asking all sides to stand down.

In his remarks, Carter said: "The YPG elements of [the SDF] will withdraw, and is withdrawing, east of the Euphrates". "If they don't, they will be a target".

U.S. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the United States had demanded the YPG return to the eastern side of the Euphrates but said Washington understood this had "largely occurred". "They have fought hard and sacrificed to try and rid Syria of this hateful group".

It was the first Turkish death reported in Turkey's campaign.

Ankara, which has the support of the United States, claimed they were "terrorists" from outlawed Kurdish militias.

The PYD announced three autonomous areas or "cantons" called Afrin, Jazira and Kobane (from west to the east) following the withdrawal of Syrian regime forces in November 2013.

In two messages sent on Monday to the U.N. chief, Ban Ki-moon, and the resident of the U.N. Security Council, Syria's Foreign Ministry accused Turkey of committing "full-fledged crimes against humanity".

Ankara in turn suspects the Islamic State's involvement in the attack, as those targeted were traveling across the border to help rebuild the battered city of Kobane. "We should secure the return of the residents who were forced to leave", he said.

The goal is to clear the region south of Jarablus of Kurdish forces, thus keeping them from linking with other Kurdish-controlled areas in Afrin in Syria's northwestern corner. The Sajour river is north of Manbij.

Leading Kurdish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat: "The Manbij Military Council will face any attempt from the Turks or their linked factions to control the city", adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were ready to support the residents of Manbij in this battle.

The move is not likely to be accepted by Turkey, since Ankara wants the rebels to withdraw east of the Euphrates.

But experts say the Turkish offensive has again exposed the vastly different, often competing objectives of America's allies in the five-year-old conflict in Syria, where the Islamic State is only one of many actors.