By Sarp Ozer
Turkey’s armed forces suffered no causalities during the operation to retake the Syrian city of Jarabulus from Daesh, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said Thursday.
Turkish tanks and special forces troops accompanied Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters as they crossed into Syria on Wednesday as part of Operation Euphrates Shield.
In an interview with the NTV channel, Isik said two FSA soldiers were killed and two injured. “There are no causalities from the TSK,” he said, using the Turkish acronym for the country’s military.
The minister added that the mission was to clear the border region of Daesh as well as PYD and YPG terrorists, who he said should withdraw east of the River Euphrates immediately.
Ankara considers the PYD and its armed wing, the YPG, to be the Syrian affiliates of the PKK, which has waged war on Turkey for 32 years, and has declared their presence west of the Euphrates a red line.
The YPG established a foothold in the region earlier this month when it helped free Manbij of Daesh.
“Currently, the withdrawal has not fully happened,” Isik said. “We are waiting for the realization of the withdrawal and following it closely. If [the YPG] do not withdraw, Turkey has the right to all kinds of interventions.”
Earlier Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that the YPG had begun withdrawing.
Isik said the operation would continue until Turkey’s border security was completely guaranteed.