Erdogan threatens to continue operation in Syria if US fails to observe its commitments
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to continue Turkey's military operation in north Syria upon expiry of the 120-hour ceasefire, brokered within a Turkish-US deal, if the US fails to observe its commitments in terms of ensuring the withdrawal of the Kurdish troops from the agreed area, Trend reports citing Sputnik.
"If the withdrawal of terrorists is not completed, we will continue the operation once the 120 hours expire. Over the past nine days, we have destroyed a total of 765 terrorists and cleared 500 square kilometres [19 square miles] from the tyranny of the terrorist organisation. We have reached an agreement not with the terrorist organisation but with the US, and we will seize control over the safe zone", Erdogan said in a broadcast streamed by the NTV channel.
The statement comes after the US and Turkey announced on 17 October concluding a deal on halting the Turkish operation, dubbed Peace Spring, for 120 hours for the Kurdish forces to leave the area within an 18-mile so-called safe zone, which Ankara intends to control unilaterally. Despite the deal, both Ankara and the Kurds have reported violation of the truce by the rival side.
Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria began on 9 October. The offensive is part of Ankara's goal to clear its Syria-facing border area of Daesh terrorist organisation and Kurdish militia, which Ankara designates as terrorists, and create a safe zone where Turkey could relocate part of more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees it currently hosts.