World, Middle East

'Terrorists still in planned safe zone in N. Syria'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says planned safe zone not cleared of terrorists yet

Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu, Erdogan Cagatay Zontur   | 05.11.2019
'Terrorists still in planned safe zone in N. Syria' Turkish President and Leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during his party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, Turkey on November 5, 2019. ( Binnur Ege Gürün - Anadolu Agency )

ANKARA

There are still terrorists in the planned safe zone in northern Syria, Turkish president said on Tuesday.

"We know that there are still terrorists in the planned safe zone. These areas have not been cleared of terrorists yet," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's parliamentary group.

Erdogan noted that the terrorists beyond the safe zone borders were organizing attacks to Turkish security forces.

"We will not be an onlooker to this situation. We will do what is necessary as we did before.

"Turkey will continue its fight until the last terrorist is neutralized in Turkey, Syria and Iraq," Erdogan said.

Syria's Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad were cleared of terrorists during Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring -- launched on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River 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 two million refugees.

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 the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

The Turkish president also criticized the U.S. attitude towards Turkey's S-400 missile system purchase from Russia.

"Linking the S-400s that we have purchased from Russia to F-35 issue and notably sanctions and other issues make no sense," said Erdogan.

"I see such persistence as a new pretext towards hostility directed at our country," he added.

Erdogan noted that Turkey's doors are open to the countries, "which are ready to talk, negotiate, and compromise with Turkey on an equal basis".

Turkey received a system, two batteries, and all the ammunition of the Russian S-400 missile defense systems, the military sources said, adding that training is under way.

The Turkish parliament on Thursday condemned a resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, recognizing the so-called "Armenian genocide" as well as a bill backing sanctions on Turkey.

'US troops, YPG/PYD jointly patrolling in N.Syria'

The U.S. troops and YPG/PYD terrorists are jointly patrolling planned safe zone in northern Syria, Turkish president said Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, the U.S. is also on patrol with the YPG/PYD. They were supposed to withdraw [from planned safe zone]," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters after the group meeting.

"Although they decided to withdraw, how can we explain that patrol in the region that the U.S. is carrying out with this terrorist organization? These are not included in our agreement," Erdogan said.

Ankara wants YPG/PYD terrorists to withdraw from the region so that a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some two million refugees.

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 the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG/PYD is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

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