By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
Turkey will "destroy" all terror nests in Syria, one by one, starting with Afrin and Manbij regions, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
Addressing his Justice and Development (AK) Party's parliamentary group meeting in capital Ankara, Erdogan said: "In a short span of time, we will destroy all terror nests, one by one, in Syria, starting from Afrin and Mambij regions.
"Those who stabbed us in the back and appear to be our allies ... cannot prevent it."
The president urged NATO to fulfill its responsibilities to its partners.
"NATO! You are obliged to take a stand against those who harass the borders of one of your partners," he said.
Following the group meeting, Erdogan gave further details about the Afrin operation to reporters; Afrin, a district of Aleppo near the Turkish-Syria border, is under siege by the PKK/PYD terrorist organization.
He said the Turkish army would conduct operations with Syrian opposition.
"This fight is made for them. We are helping our brothers there so that they can protect their own territories," Erdogan said.
He said that he did not even think about calling the U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss the latest Syria situation.
"As long as he does not turn to me, I do not turn to him."
Support for SDF slammed
The Turkish president, however, said talks with his Russian counterpart continue.
Erdogan spoke over the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Jan. 11.
"Our phone diplomacy is continuing."
The president slammed the U.S. support for the SDF -- largely controlled and manned by the PKK/PYD terrorist organization in Syria -- in setting up a border protection force.
"America will come from 11-12,000 kilometers, it will set up an army here, and it will name it what? ‘Border protection’? Whose border protection?
"The regime in Syria says 'This poses a threat for us' and they never lean towards such kind of formation."
On Saturday, Turkish security forces hit several PKK/PYD targets in Afrin to prevent a "terror corridor" from forming along Turkey's borders.
The Afrin operation will follow Turkey's successful seven-month Operation Euphrates Shield, which ended in March 2017.
The coalition had issued a written statement to some media outlets earlier on Sunday, wherein it said that it was working with the SDF to set up and train a Syrian border protection force.
Turkey has long protested the U.S. support for the PKK/PYD, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, and its military wing PYG, while Washington sees it as a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years.