ANKARA: Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said the Operation Peace Spring was aimed at removing the Kurdish PKK/ YPG organisation from the borders and ensuring the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the safe zone.
Tayyip Erdogan said with financial support of European Union and other countries, Turkey intended to establish 140 villages and 10 districts in safe zone.
Taking a dig at the United States president, he said, “Western leaders asking to halt the operation are seen by us the “epitome of hypocrisy”.”
The president said in the next 120 hours, the US would ensure terrorists withdrew from safe zone, weapons would be recollected and fortifications would be disabled.
Also Read: Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in Syria
However, he clarified, the Turkish forces would not leave Syria, rather Kurdish forces would have to retreat from the safe zone within 120 hours pause. He also said that clash in the safe zone was out of the question.
“Turkish forces are clearing and destroying booby traps, mines and improvised explosives planted by YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria as part of Operation Peace Spring,” the Turkey’s Defence Ministry tweeted.
In a deal between the US President Donald Trump administration and Ankara, Turkey has agreed to pause its operation for five days in Syria to let Kurdish forces withdraw from the proposed “safe zone”.
This was announced by US Vice President Mike Pence following talks with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. Hailing the decision, Trump said it would save millions of human lives.
It’s still not clear if the Kurdish forces would comply with the agreement or not.
Turkish military has stormed into Kurdish areas in Syria. A large number of people have in panic fled their houses as a result of the ongoing intense fighting along the border areas, after the Turkish forces pounded the border region with air raids and artillery fire.
The situation has become complex with interests of different entities in the Syrian war.
Turkey had launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct 9 in northern Syria “to secure its borders and Syria’s territorial integrity by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees,” Turkish state news agency, Anadolu Agency, stated on Oct 11.