The U.S. and Russia have not yet fulfilled the agreements signed with Ankara on northern Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said Monday.
'Have they fulfilled whatever was necessary under the agreements? No, they have not until now. But they should,' Mevlut Cavusoglu told members of the Turkish parliament's planning and budget committee.
Cavusoglu recalled Turkey's recent anti-terror operations in northern Syria.
'If we do not achieve any result, as we had started the operation [before]...we will do whatever is necessary [in northern Syria],' he said.
Cavusoglu noted that Turkey has no other solution besides clearing the region of all terror groups.
'We should definitely clear the terror threat just next to us [in northern Syria],' he added.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu said Turkey had informed the Syrian administration before the anti-terror operation in northern Syria.
'In this notification, we stressed that we respect the territorial integrity of Syria,' he said.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate YPG/PKK 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.
Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so that a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees.
On Oct. 22, Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists would pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with Syria and security forces from Turkey and Russia will mount joint patrols there.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
'There was a man whose name is [Ismail] al-Ithawi. We captured him and handed him to Iraq,' said Cavusoglu.
Al-Ithawi had held several top positions in the Daesh terror group, including being an assistant to slain ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In February 2018, Turkish authorities arrested al-Ithawi, also known as Abu Zeid al-Iraqi, and handed him over to the Iraqi authorities. A criminal court in Baghdad’s Karkh district sentenced him to death in September that year.
'He [al-Ithawi] had shown the hideout of Baghdadi,' Cavusoglu said.
Baghdadi blew himself up during an Oct. 26 raid by U.S. forces in Idlib, Syria.
Cavusoglu noted that Turkey has handed over nearly 7,700 Daesh terrorists to their countries.
He added that some 70,000 individuals are on a list that prohibits them from entering Turkey.
By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu