Erdogan: Airstrikes on northern Syria are only the beginning
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that Turkey is determined to secure its border with Syria and that a ground operation will start when suitable.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announces that the airstrikes against Kurdish militants were only the beginning.
In an address to his party's Parliament members, Erdogan stated that Turkey will initiate a ground operation in northern Syria in time, adding that the country is set on securing its border more than ever by establishing a "security corridor" without violating the territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq.
"We are continuing the air operation and will come down hard on the terrorists from land at the most convenient time for us," he said.
"We have formed part of this corridor (and) will take care of it starting with places such as Tal Rifaat, Manbij and Ayn al-Arab (Kobani), which are the sources of trouble."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also announced that Turkey has the right to take care of its own problems in northern Syria, while claiming that the Turkish operations will ensure the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, asking Syria and Iraq not to feel unease with the operations, Reuters reported.
Despite claiming the territorial integrity will be untouched, the Turkish President said Turkey will "begin land operation at most convenient time for us," stressing that "we are now more determined than ever to secure our southern border."
Turkey announced earlier this month the launch of "Operation Claw-Sword" offensive with air raids targeting the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in both Iraq and Syria
The raids come days after Ankara accused the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) of being behind the Istanbul attack, which resulted in the death of six people, which the movement categorically denied.
The wave of Turkish operations comes without any noticeable ground movements so far while Turkey is currently studying the number of forces that may participate in a ground operation, with Turkish media leaks suggesting that preparation for the ground invasion had already started, and the issue of its official launch is just a matter of time.
Russia asks Turkey to refrain from full-scale Syria offensive
Russia has asked Turkey to refrain from a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, senior Russian negotiator Alexander Lavrentyev said on Wednesday, because such actions could trigger an escalation of violence.
"We hope our arguments will be heard in Ankara and other ways of resolving the problem will be found," he said, after a fresh round of Syria talks with Turkish and Iranian delegations in Kazakhstan.