Turkey ‘won’t stop’ Syria operation despite ‘threats’: Erdogan

Istanbul: Turkey will not stop its operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday, dismissing what he called “threats” from other countries.

“Whatever some may say, we will not stop this step that we have taken,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.

“Now there are threats coming from left and right, telling us to stop this,” he added.

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“We will not step back… We will continue this fight until all the terrorists go south of the 32-kilometre (20 mile) limit from our border that Mr Trump himself mentioned.”

Turkey launched an operation on Wednesday against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria that it considers a “terrorist” off-shoot of Kurdish insurgents in its own territory.

It aims to establish a buffer zone to keep the YPG away from its border — an idea that was first publicly mooted by US President Donald Trump at the start of the year.

However, Trump and other Western allies have heavily criticised this week’s offensive by Turkey, since they had used the YPG as the key frontline force in the battle against the Islamic State group in recent years.

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