Turkey’s President, Erdogan on Friday threatened to extend Turkey’s operations against US-backed Syrian Kurdish militias to the Iraqi border, defying Washington’s warnings to Ankara to hold back operations.
Ankara: Turkey On Saturday, launched the military operation against the Kurdish forces, the mission dubbed “Operation Olive Branch.”
“Operation Olive Branch will continue until it reaches its goals. We will rid Manbij of terrorists, as it was promised to us, and our battles will continue until no terrorist is left until our border leading to Iraq,” Erdogan said in a speech.
Turkey is angry at Washington’s assistance to the Kurds, and tensions are high between the two NATO allies. United States President Donald Trump, in a telephone call, urged Ankara to reduce its military operation in Syria and warned that it will bring the United States and Turkish forces into conflict, on Wednesday.
White House statement said, “He urged Turkey to deescalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties,” a White House statement said.”
However, Ankara refuted Washington’s assertion that Trump had warned Erdogan to limit the military offensive in northern Syria. A Turkish official said discussion between two leaders was limited to an exchange of views, the official added that Trump had not shared any concerns about “escalating violence,” in defiance to the White House statement.
The United States has about 2,000 troops in Syria, officially as part of the international United States-led coalition against Islamic State.
Erdogan took a shot at the US foreign policy, appearing to call country hypocritical for telling Turkey to limit its operation.
Erdogan said, “How can a strategic partner do this to its partner?” referring to the United States. “If we will wage a battle against terror together, we will either do this together or we will take care of ourselves.”
Binali Yildirim, Turkish Prime Minister also attacked Washington verbally, accusing the United States of operating with the terrorist outfit.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Kurds have called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to intercede and protect them from the Turkish military offensive, specifically to prevent Turkish planes flying in Syrian airspace.
Thousands of Kurdish civilians have fled Afrin, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a United Kingdom-based monitoring group, said more than two dozen civilians had been killed by the Turkish military.