Turkey President Says, They will Clean Entire Syrian Border of Terrorists
Turkey will clean its entire border with Syria of terrorists, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday (January 28), in a sign that a nine-day-old Turkish offensive into northern Syria’s Afrin region could be extended further.
Speaking at a congress of his ruling AK Party in the northern province of Amasya, Erdogan said Turkey would make sure the Syrian refugees it hosts can return to their homes once the border is cleared of militants.
Turkey’s air and ground offensive in northwest Syria’s Afrin region against the Kurdish YPG militia has opened a new front in the seven-year, multi-sided Syrian civil war and strained ties with NATO ally Washington.
Clashes intensified around strategic Mount Barsaya on Sunday. The mountain overlooks the shortest route between the towns of FSA-held Azaz and YPG-held Afrin and was captured after days of fighting, according to a statement from the Turkish Military
Ankara views the YPG as terrorists and as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and has been infuriated by U.S. support, including arms and training, for the militia. The Kurdish fighters have played a prominent role in U.S.-led efforts to combat the hardline Islamic State in Syria.