Turkey’s Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, inspected Turkish troops deployed along the country’s border with Syria on March 23, according to the Anadolu Agency.
Akar was reportedly accompanied by Turkish Chief of General Staff, Yasar Guler, and Umit Dundar, commander of the Turkish Land Forces. During the inspections, the three leaders held a meeting with commanders of troops stationed on the border.
“We can’t accept the presence of terrorists on the southern border of our country,” Akar said during the meeting, according to the Anadolu Agency.
Akar added that his country expects its allies to respect their commitments on the area to the east of the Euphrates and the city of Manbij in northern Syria. Both areas are being held by the U.S. main proxy in Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ankara views the group as a threat to its national security.
“The presence of terrorists east of the Euphrates should end, they are threatening our country, our nation, our border and expose them to danger,” Akar said.
The Turkish defense minister also said that Turkey is looking to establish a 30 to 40km safe zone in northern Syria, while stressing that the zone should be controlled by the Turkish military only. A demand that contradict with the U.S. future plans for the region.
Earlier, the SDF called on Turkey to withdraw all of its troops from Syria and stop interfering in the internal matters of the country. The statement represents the Kurdish group strict stand against Ankara.
The recent statements by Turkey and the SDF indicate that northern Syria is heading towards a new conflict. Both sides do not look to be seeking to find a compromise.
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