Erdoğan says Turkey to conduct operations in Syria east of Euphrates River

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech on the traditional gala dinner of TURKEN foundation at Mandarin Hotel as he arrives at New York to participate in the 73rd session of UN General Assembly on September 24, 2018 in New York, United States. AFP PHOTOS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday said Turkey would carry out operations in regions controlled by Kurdish groups east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Underlining Ankara’s determination to maintain the fight against terrorist groups during a gala dinner sponsored by the Turken Foundation (TÜRKEN) in New York on Sunday, Erdoğan said Turkey would conduct Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch-like operations east of the Euphrates to clear out terrorist groups and create secure regions for the Syrian people.

Erdoğan recalled that Turkey has created a 4,000-square-kilometer secure area in northern Syria with operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants since 2016.

The Turkish president also criticized the US administration for sending 18,000 trucks and 3,000 planeloads of weapons to the YPG in northern Syria.

The area east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria is controlled by the YPG and other opposition groups that were brought together by the US to fight against ISIL.

Turkey sees YPG as the Syrian proxy of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for an independent Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey since 1984.

Erdoğan on Oct. 8, 2017 said Turkey would not allow a Kurdish corridor in Syria extending along the Turkish border to the Mediterranean.

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