Turkey dealt heavy blow to YPG, remains vigilant in northern Syria – presidential spokesman
Turkey has dealt a heavy blow to Kurdish forces in northern Syria and will remain vigilant in the region despite their withdrawal from Turkish borders, Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Monday.
The Turkish offensive that targeted the Syrian majority-Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) looking to create a terror corridor and terrorist state in the region has eliminated the group’s aims to a large extent, Kalın said.
“A considerable blow was dealt on this terror corridor. However, Turkey continues to be vigilant,” state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Kalın as saying.
Turkey along with Syrian rebel forces on Oct. 9 launched an offensive in northeast Syria to create a safe zone along its border with Syria that is cleared of the YPG, which Turkey sees as a threat due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The operation ended after nine days, after the Turkish government secured separate deals with the United States and Russia for the withdrawal of Kurdish militia from regions along its borders.
The withdrawal of the YPG from the Turkish border after the operation “doesn't mean the war [on terror] is over or slowed down,”Kalın said.
“Turkey expects its allies, be it the U.S., EU or any other country, to assume a clear stance against all kinds of terror. Recognising the PKK as terror group on paper is not enough. What you practice is important,” the presidential spokesman added.
The presidential spokesman also said Ankara had launched initiaves in the UN High Commissioner's Office for return of Syrian refugees.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan plans to resettle millions of the Syrian refugees in Turkey in the safe zone, the area over which Turkey gained control through its offensive.
The Turkish presidential spokesman also commented on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Washington, which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 13.
Kalın said that Turkey was not the party that sought the visit, and that Ankara’s "evaluations continue on whether [the visit] will take place or not".