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Erdogan Threatens on the Syria “Safe-Zone”

Tuesday 1 October 2019

ANKARA (Reuters) — Turkey has no choice but to act alone given too little progress has been made with the United States forming a “safe zone” in north-eastern Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday in his most direct indication of a cross-border offensive.

After eight years of war in neighbouring Syria, Ankara and NATO ally Washington have agreed to establish a zone along 480 km of the border that Turkey wants to be 30 km deep.

Under the Turkish plan, up to 2 mln Syrian refugees would be settled in the area that would be cleared of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara deems a terrorist organization.

Since agreeing to set up the zone in northern Syria, Turkey has repeatedly warned of unilateral military action if efforts do not meet its expectations, saying it would not tolerate any attempts by Washington to stall the process. It set an end-September deadline for action.

At the parliament’s opening ceremony in Ankara Erdogan said;

We have not achieved any of the results we desired in the east of the Euphrates. Turkey cannot lose even a single day on this issue. There is no other choice but to act on our own.

[…]

We plan to settle two million people in the safe zones we will establish. We calculated the costs and we will carry out efforts to improve. We will start taking steps as soon as the region is saved from the invasion of terror.

He added that Turkey aimed to host an “international donors meeting” to get funding for its plans in the area, which he said would stretch from the Euphrates river in Syria east to the Iraqi border.


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