Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday corrected a previous statement on Syria, saying the Turkish military operation in Syria targets no one but terror groups.
“The target of Operation Euphrates Shield is not any country or person but only terror organizations,” said Erdoğan on Thursday during the 30th gathering with village heads at the presidential palace in Ankara.
Erdoğan also underlined that no one should attempt to distort his statement.
In a speech on Tuesday Erdoğan had said: “We are there [Syria] to bring justice. We are there to end the rule of the cruel Assad, who has been spreading state terror.”
Erdoğan’s new remarks came a day after a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
The Kremlin said earlier on Wednesday that the statement by Erdoğan had come as a surprise to Moscow and that it expected an explanation from Ankara.
Russian Deputy President Yuriy Ushakov stated on Thursday that Erdoğan had clarified his remarks that Turkish troops were in Syria to end the rule of President Bashar Al Assad, during his phone call with Putin.
The Russian military backs Assad in Syria, while Ankara supports the rebels fighting to oust him. Turkey and Russia have been trying to find common ground on Syria since a rapprochement in August.