By Muhammed Boztepe
Turkey's minister of interior anticipated Monday that the United States will try to hinder Turkey from conducting an anti-terrorism operation east of the Euphrates River in Syria to eliminate the YPG/PKK terrorist group.
"[The U.S.] has tried to confine us in northern Iraq, it tried to confine us in Afrin, [Syria]. And now, it will try to confine us east of the Euphrates. Turkey did not let it happen back then and we will not let it happen this time," Suleyman Soylu told reporters during a visit to the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that within days Turkey would launch an operation in Syria, east of the Euphrates River, near Turkey’s borders, to clear the region of YPG/PKK terrorists.
A possible mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria since 2016 -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch -- both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.
"The U.S. has thought that it could intimidate us by using the men it had nurtured. It tried to set an international encirclement but we have overcome it," Soylu said.
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 some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.