Turkey is not worried about US sanctions imposed in connection with the operation in northern Syria and Ankara intends to continue the offensive until its goals are achieved, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, Trend reports citing Sputnik.
"Until the operation achieves all the set goals, it will continue. Our goals are clear, we are not worried about [US] sanctions. Our goal is to eliminate terrorists within 32 kilometres [about 20 miles] from the border. We are holding talks with the US and Russia for field coordination," Erdogan said on Tuesday.
Turkish President added that Turkey has nothing against the Syrian government forces controlling the city of Manbij in the northeast of Syria, as long as terrorists are wiped out in the area.
"In the end it’s their [Syrian] land," Erdogan stressed on Tuesday, telling Turkish journalists that the entry of Syrian government forces is not "a very negative development" but it is important that the area is cleared of terrorist organizations.
According to the Turkish president, the residents of Manbij are predominantly (85-90%) Arabs, not Kurds, whom Ankara believes to be linked to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), branded a terrorist organization by Turkey.
"We ask them [Syrian government]: ‘Will the terrorists remain or not?’ And I have told reputable [Russian President Vladimir] Putin the same thing. If you are clearing Manbij of terrorists, please ensure this [that terrorists are eliminated]," Erdogan said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russia's Defence Ministry said that Syrian government forces had retaken control of Manbij and the surrounding areas after US servicemen left their bases northwest of the city.
Turkish Presidential Administration said that Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria will significantly contribute to maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity.
"Our president told his Russian colleague that Operation Peace Spring, along with contributing to the fight against terrorism, will also make a significant contribution to protecting Syria’s territorial integrity and to the political settlement process," the Turkish presidential administration said in a Tuesday statement.