Turkey’s counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria launched to establish a safe zone was very “strategic”, “important” and “timely” not only for Turkey, but also for Syria and for the stability and security of the region, Turkish Foreign Minister said Sunday.
“We want to see that the terrorists withdraw from the declared safe zone within 120 hours,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a live broadcast on the Kanal 7 news channel.
Underlining that a “PKK state” was planned to be established in the region, Cavusoglu said that Turkey “spoiled a big game” with the Operation Peace Spring.
Highlighting that the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone is underway, Cavusoglu said terrorists continue to violate the safe zone deal between Turkey and U.S. despite latter’s instructions.
The PKK/YPG terrorists have violated the safe zone deal with the U.S. 20 times since it came into effect on Oct. 17, according to Turkish Defense Ministry on Sunday.
On Oct. 9, Turkey had launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
On Oct. 17, Turkey agreed to pause its Operation Peace Spring for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also agreed on Turkey having 20 miles (32 kilometers) of safe zone south of the Turkish border in Syria.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG/PKK.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Writing by Zehra Nur Duz
Reporting by Nazli Yuzbasioglu