Mar 06 2018

Erdoğan says Afrin op to gain serious momentum

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey’s incursion into Syria’s Afrin will gain serious momentum as it turns its eyes on the region’s central city.

The Turkish military has met some fierce resistance, particularly around the town of Jindires, 20 kilometres southwest of Afrin, but that obstacle will soon be removed and troops will then surround Afrin city, where Kurdish terrorists are hiding out, Erdoğan told members of his ruling party in a speech in Ankara on Tuesday.

The terror corridor that had been established on Turkey’s border, with Syrian regime help, was aimed at Turkey’s territorial integrity, Erdoğan said.

“They can tell as many lies as they like, they can use as many tactics to string us along as they want, they can play diplomatic games, but we know the reality.”

Turkey's strongman also referred to the U.S. Sixth Fleet. The Sixth Fleet is the United States Navy's operational fleet and staff of United States Naval Forces Europe

Ahval exclusively reported on Monday the Iwo Jima  amphibious ready group, including three amphibious ships and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit comprising 2,500 U.S. Marines, entered Sixth Fleet operations. Ahval concluded yesterday, the United States is increasing its naval presence in the Mediterranean as oil giant ExxonMobil sends two exploration vessels to the waters off Cyprus where Turkey last month blocked an Italian ship from looking for new gas deposits.

On Tuesday, Erdogan addressing the Europeans, said, "while European states' boats abandoning refugees to death, we try to rescue every innocent's life. You can only make it there with your Sixth Fleet, aircraft carrier."

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Turkey’s blocking of an Italian gas exploration vessel off Cyprus “gunboat diplomacy” during his meeting Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, Ahval reported on Monday.