Deputy PM says Damascus informed about Euphrates Shield operation

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Numan Kurtulmuş

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş announced on Monday that all relevant parties including Damascus were informed before an operation called Euphrates Shield was launched by Turkey into Syria last week.

Turkey sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels drive the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from the border city of Jarabulus last Thursday in a dramatic escalation of its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Speaking to a group of reporters in Istanbul, Kurtulmuş said all relevant parties were informed about the Euphrates Shield operation.

“This includes Damascus,” he noted, adding that Damascus was informed via Russia.

Turkey, which cut off relations with Syria in 2011 when a civil war broke out in the country, has been a vigorous supporter of the removal of the Syrian President Bashar Assad regime.

Kurtulmuş also said Turkey did not enter the war in Syria and does not plan to be a permanent force there.

“We did not enter the war [in Syria] with the Jarabulus operation. We are not seeking to become a permanent force in Syria,” he said,

In the meantime, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a statement on Monday accused the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) of carrying out an “ethnic cleansing” in the region.

“If the YPG does not withdraw to the east of the Euphrates, it will become a target,” he warned.

 

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