Turkey says cross-border operations in and around the Syrian border town of Jarablus will cease when the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) threat has been eliminated.
“Operations will continue until the ISIL, PKK/YPG threat ends,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a message delivered for Aug. 30, Victory Day.
Turkey sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels drive ISIL from the border town of Jarabulus last week in a dramatic escalation of its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
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.
“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 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.
The Turkish military said in a statement on Monday that the army is continuing to make progress in northern Syria and has cleared an area of 400 square kilometers near its border. It also noted that all necessary precautions were taken to avoid harming any civilians there.