Turkey will push 35km into Syria and Western arms embargoes won’t make it turn back – Erdogan
President Erdogan has shed light on some plans for his country’s offensive in northern Syria, setting territorial limits to his troops’ advances. He warned that nothing – including Western pressure – can stop Turkey’s operation.
Turkish forces will advance 30 to 35km into Syrian territory as part of Operation ‘Peace Spring’, Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed in a televised speech on Sunday. The army and allied Syrian rebels have also taken under its control a 68-kilometer stretch of Syria’s border, pushing back against the Kurdish resistance, he added.
He spoke shortly after Ankara proclaimed seizure of an important border town, Ras al-Ain, along with another settlement, Tal Abyad. Both towns had been held by Syrian Kurdish militias.
“We focused first on the 120-km (75-mile) area between Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad. Thus, we will divide the 480 km terrorist corridor down the middle,” Erdogan was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“Then we will take control of Hasaka on the one side and Ain al Arab [Kobani] on the other, and complete the operation,” he said.
Turkey’s operation kicked off this week on the back of President Donald Trump’s decision to order US troops out of the area. Turkey protests that it’s merely seeking to safeguard its border and to create a buffer zone for Syrian displaced persons and refugees. But the Kurdish-dominated People’s Protection Units (YPG) suspect the Turkish offensive targets their enclaves and claim that it may yet take the shape of an ethnic cleansing.
The operation was met with little praise among Ankara’s allies in NATO. Some members – so far, France, Norway and Germany – have suspended their arms sales to Turkey in response. The US and the European Union also urged consideration of imposing sanctions on Turkey, but Erdogan believes it will not have any impact on his country’s plans.
“After we launched our operation, we have faced threats like economic sanctions and embargoes on weapons sales,” he stated on Sunday. “Those who think they can make Turkey turn back with these threats are gravely mistaken,” he cautioned.Also on rt.com Erdogan says Turkey ‘won’t stop’ operation in northern Syria despite ‘threats’ as US warns it can ‘shut down’ Ankara’s economy
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