Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said US troops and Kurdish militants are still patrolling a planned safe zone area in northeastern Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“Although they decided to withdraw, how can we explain that patrol in the region that the US is carrying out with this terrorist organization? This was not included in our agreement,” Erdoğan told his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) group at the Turkish parliament on Tuesday.
“We know there are still terrorists in the planned safe zone. These areas have not been cleared of terrorists yet,” he added.
Ankara views the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as a Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist organization that has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey’s Southeast.
Turkey in October has launched a military operation in northeastern Syria to clear the planned safe zone of Kurdish militia and halted the offensive after a series of talks with US and Russian leaders.
Erdoğan added that Tuesday morning a Turkish soldier was killed while removing improvised explosive devices in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn.
“Turkey will continue its fight until the last terrorist is ‘neutralized’ in Turkey, Syria and Iraq,” Erdoğan said.