24 December 2016 Saturday
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that Turkey will never allow the formation of a new state in northern Syria.
“We will never allow the founding of this kind of state,” despite efforts to do so, Erdogan told Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) in Istanbul.
Erdogan also reiterated Turkey’s wish to see a “terror-free safe zone” in northern Syria for the safety of its southeastern border provinces.
“We have been saying this from the beginning. If this [issue] isn’t dealt with, Gaziantep is always hanging by a thread, Kilis is always hanging by a thread, Sanliurfa is hanging by a thread,” he added, mentioning three border provinces.
Later, at the opening of a governmental complex, Erdogan spoke on the Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces in northern Syria backed by the Turkish army.
“The Free Syrian Army is the epitome of moderate opposition in Syria,” he said. “It has nothing to do with [being a] terrorist organization, but it is precisely a resistance movement. They are trying to save their territory.”
On the completion of the evacuation of civilians and opposition fighters from war-battered eastern Aleppo, Erdogan said: “We have saved our 45,000 brothers from Aleppo … We can bring them to our territories if necessary.”
Separately, meeting with women entrepreneurs in Istanbul, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stressed the goals of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria.
“Our aim in being there is ensuring the safety of life and property of our citizens who live along our southern borders,” said Yildirim, adding that Turkey has long wanted to block the danger coming from northern Syria.
Separately, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli spoke on Turkey’s current Al-Bab operation as part of Operation Euphrates Shield.
“Operation Euphrates Shield should definitely be crowned with victory,” Bahceli said at MHP headquarters in Ankara.
“If we emerged empty-handed from Al-Bab, we would endanger Diyarbakir and Ankara. Al-Bab should collapse around the hellhounds, and they should all perish.”
The Turkish army is supporting Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters’ efforts to liberate Al-Bab from ISIL, a strategic city for the terrorist group.
The Turkish army is currently active in northern Syria under Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using FSA fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.
Since the launch of Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish explosive ordnance disposal teams have neutralized 2,208 handmade explosives and 42 mines in areas rid of ISIL.
Source: World Bulletin.