Turkey, Middle East

Turkey to 'target YPG until it moves east of Euphrates'

Foreign Minister says armed wing of PKK/PYD terrorist group needs to move as 'US had promised'

Satuk Buğra Kutlugün   | 29.08.2016
Turkey to 'target YPG until it moves east of Euphrates'



The armed wing of the PKK/PYD terrorist group will be targeted "until it moves east of Euphrates River," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday.

In remarks made during a joint press conference with his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders in Ankara, Cavusoglu said: "YPG will be targeted until it moves east of Euphrates.

"They need to move to the east side of Euphrates River as soon as possible, as they had announced and as the U.S. had promised."

The PYD terrorist group is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU.

The PKK resumed its decades-old armed campaign in July last year. Since then, more than 600 security personnel have been martyred and more than 7,000 PKK terrorists killed.

Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched on Wednesday, is aimed at improving security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the terror threat along Turkey’s border through Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery and jets.

Cavusoglu said the operation's aim was to “clear Daesh” from the region.

"As you can see, even [targeted by] a small force, Daesh terror group flees the cities it controls," he said.

But he also said it was "not possible" to defeat Daesh through only airstrikes alone.

"We can clear Daesh from Iraq and from Syria through effective land operations," he said. "Leave aside the 65 countries in the coalition, if only five or six countries had collaborated on the issue, there would not have been any terrorist group named Daesh in Syria or in Iraq."

He said Arabs were in majority in the Syrian city of Manbij, adding the people of the city had joined the Turkish army-backed operation.

"We should place the residents back in here, who were displaced in the first place," Cavusoglu said. "But this is not the aim of YPG."

Cavusoglu also said YPG carries out "ethnic cleansing" of people, including Kurds, who "do not think like them." 

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