Erdogan renews threat of military invasion in northern Syria
Turkey's President reiterates his plan to establish a 30 km "security zone" in northern Syria.
Renewing threats that he would target Kurdish fighters that he branded as "terrorists", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again said that he is pushing forward with a military offensive in two areas in northern Syria.
"We are taking another step in establishing a 30-kilometer security zone along our southern border. We will clean up Tell Rifaat and Manbij", he said.
Erdogan's stance against the Kurdish fighters has also soured relations with Finland and Sweden, who have not yet received Turkey's approval to join the Atlantic Alliance because of their refusal to brand the PKK as a terrorist group. Erdogan is currently trying to pressure both countries into branding the PKK as terrorists in exchange for their accession to NATO.
An official source in the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates asserted "Syria's right, under international law, to confront any measures taken by Erdogan’s regime and its terrorist organizations," urging "all illegal foreign forces to leave Syrian territory."
“Establishing a so-called safe zone on Syrian territory is a shameful act of aggression and part of Erdogan's policy of ethnic and geographical cleansing in the occupied Syrian territories, which amounts to a crime against humanity," it added.
Syria "holds responsible every party that illegally operates outside the framework of the Syrian state and its institutions," the source said.
The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a message earlier to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council protesting against Turkey's plans to establish a "safe zone" on Syrian soil. Damascus considered the move "a form of aggression" and "an act of colonization through which the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to create an [unstable] outpost in Syria."