Erdogan: Turkey is now more determined than ever to protect its borders with Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is “now more determined than ever” to protect its border with Syria from Kurdish fighters.
“Our operations with aircraft, artillery and drones are just the beginning,” he said in a speech to parliament. “We will continue air operations without interruption and enter terrorist territory at the time we deem appropriate.”
Turkey, which called on Washington and Moscow to exercise restraint, has attacked multiple targets in Syria after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again threatened to launch a ground operation against Kurdish militants in the north of the country “soon”.
Turkish air forces and artillery have bombed about 500 targets of Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq and Syria since Sunday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday.
Official Anadolu Agency quoted Akar as saying: “The operation continues with punitive strikes from both air and ground fire support vehicles. 471 targets have been hit and 254 terrorists have been neutralized so far” as part of Operation “Claw Sword” against positions of Kurdish fighters.
Turkish officials often use the word “neutralized” to refer to militants killed, wounded, or captured in security operations.
On Sunday, Turkey launched Operation Claw Sword with a series of airstrikes, followed by continuous artillery shelling, on locations of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) stationed in northern Iraq and the Kurdish People’s Defense Units in Syria.
Ankara has accused the two organizations of being behind an attack that left 6 dead and 81 wounded in Istanbul on November 13, which they denied, and is threatening to launch a ground operation in northern Syria to protect its southern border.
But the Kurdish groups denied these allegations.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that around forty people were killed in these strikes.
On Tuesday evening, according to the Syrian Observatory, the Turkish artillery shelling focused primarily on the town of Kobani, the stronghold of the Kurdish People’s Defense Units, which it recaptured from the Islamic State in 2015 with Western support.
#Erdogan #Turkey #determined #protect #borders #Syria