Turkey signals new incursion into Syria citing Russia, U.S. compliance failure
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday said the United States and Russia had failed to comply with their respective agreements with Turkey regarding northern Syria, signalling a new offensive into the war-torn country.
“If we don’t get results we will do what is necessary, just like when we launched the operation after we tried with the United States,” the minister was quoted by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency as saying.
Turkey had agreed with the United States in August to establish a safe zone in Syrian territory along its border.
Turkish armed forces on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring into northern Syria against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces after the government expressed dissatisfaction with how the implementation had advanced.
The operation ended after nine days, when Turkey reached another agreement with Russia for the removal of the majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its main fighting force People’s Protection Units (YPG) from a 30 km deep strip of land in northern Syria.
“Have [the United States and Russia] done what was necessary, to this day? No, they haven’t,” the minister said, adding that northern Syria must be cleared of terrorists.
Turkey considers the YPG and SDF to be offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group fought an insurgency on Turkish soil for the last three decades.
Minister Çavuşoğlu also said the intelligence that led to the U.S. operation against the former Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was provided by a source captured by Turkey, who was later handed over to Iraq.