Erdogan: Syria safe zone should be formed till end of September
Date: 2019-09-09 07:32
Turkey will go on its own if the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria does not start by the end of September, the Turkish president said on Sunday (September 8), AA reported.
"If de facto formation of a safe zone east of the Euphrates River with Turkish soldiers is not initiated by the end of September, Turkey has no choice but to set out on its own," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a mass opening ceremony in eastern Malatya province.
Erdogan said that Turkey and the US are discussing a safe zone in N.Syria but with every step taken it is seen that what Turkey wants does not match with what is in the mind of the US.
While Turkey aims to completely eliminate the terrorist organization nesting in the N.Syria, the US counts for dealing with Turkey and the terrorist organization on same ground, Erdogan said.
"It seems Turkey's ally is after a safe zone in N.Syria not for Turkey but for the terrorist group. We reject such an approach," he added.
Erdogan noted that it is "insufficient" to form a safe zone in N.Syria with "3-5 helicopter flights, 5-10 vehicle patrols and a few hundred soldiers in area".
Earlier in the day, Turkey and the US military personnel completed the first joint ground patrol for establishment of a safe zone east of Euphrates in Syria.
The patrol was backed by unmanned air vehicles and helicopters.
The president also stressed that Turkey needs to effectively secure the entire region of the safe zone in N.Syria to settle 1 million people there.
"We want to create an area cleared of ISIS along with PKK and its extensions PYD-YPG-SDG, only in this way we can ensure that our Syrian brothers and sisters living in our country, in Europe or elsewhere can return to their homes and live in peace and security."
Erdogan underlined that nobody can force "innocent people" to live under the threat of terrorist organizations or cruel regime militias.
"Neither in the east of the Euphrates River nor in Syria's Idlib, we will consent to such an inhuman situation," he said.
He also stressed that Turkey is making intensive efforts in cooperation with Russia and Iranian regime to prevent the Assad regime's "new massacres" in country's northwestern Idlib area.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and US military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.
The agreement also envisaged setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey's security concerns, including clearing the zone of the terrorist YPG/PKK, a group the US has sometimes been allied with, over Turkey’s objections.