Monday, November 21, 2022

Turkish President Says Syria Operations Not Limited to Air Campaign

President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's military operations in northern Syria and Iraq were not limited to just an air campaign, and discussions would be held on the involvement of ground forces, Turkish media reported.

Ankara carried out its operation in Syria and Iraq because of Russia's failure to fulfill its promise to ensure the withdrawal of Kurdish units from the border of Turkey, Erdogan told reporters aboard his plane on his way home from Qatar.

"Despite our repeated warnings to Russia, which has a responsibility to clear out terrorists in northern Iraq and Syria as per our 2019 Sochi deal, Moscow has failed and refuses to perform its duty," Erdogan said, as cited by the Daily Sabah newspaper.

According to him, Turkey stated that it would not "remain silent against terrorism" and would take action if Russia "failed to do so."

"As such, we have struck and eliminated 12 terrorist nests in Ain al-Arab (Kobani)," the Turkish president stated.

He vowed that Turkey "will not be restrained, (and) this counterterrorism operation, both from the air and the land, will continue."

On October 9, 2019, Ankara announced the launch of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria aimed at creating a buffer zone to protect the Turkish border.

On October 22, 2019, the presidents of Russia and Turkey held a meeting in Sochi, adopting a memorandum on joint actions to resolve the situation in northeastern Syria.

In accordance with the document, on October 23, Russian military police officers and Syrian border guards were deployed to areas bordering the 30-kilometer-wide zone that was being set up by Turkey.

On October 29, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the Kurds had completed the withdrawal of their armed units from the area, and Russian and Turkish troops launched a joint patrol mission east of the Euphrates River on November 1.

In May 2022, Erdogan announced preparations for another military operation in northern Syria in order to expand the 30-kilometer safety zone established in October 2019 following Operation Peace Spring.

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