Turkey is determined to launch a military operation against Kurdish forces in northeast Syria regardless of the outcome of ongoing talks with the U.S, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 26.
“Whatever the outcome of safe zone talks with the United States, we will obliterate the east of the River Euphrates,” Erdogan said during a meeting with the provincial heads of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the Ankara headquarters, according to Ahval News.
The Turkish President added: “Those who behave like regional strongmen while trusting in the protection of foreign forces will either abase themselves or go to their graves.”
The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) control most of northeastern Syria with support from the US-led coalition. Thousands of U.S. troops are deployed in several bases within the region.
Turkey, which views the SDF as a threat to its national security, is currently engaged in talks with the U.S. on the fate of northeastern Syria. Washington wants to establish a safe-zone in the region that could address Ankara’s worries and solidify Kurdish forces control.
Turkey is apparently not pleased with the U.S. plans. Two days ago, Ankara’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara is not satisfied with Washington’s proposals.
Erdogan’s threats indicate that Turkey and the U.S. are still away from any possible deal on northeastern Syria. Despite this, a Turkish military operation in the region remains highly unlikely due to the presence of U.S. troops.