Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed Turkey’s 81 provincial governors in the capital Ankara on September 8, touching on various topics including terrorism and the situation in Jarablus, Syria.
"The Jarablus Operation has drastically changed the whole situation in Syria. Success brings with it new opportunities and possibilities," Erdoğan said in his address.
"The fact that Turkey carried out its Jarablus Operation into Syria successfully and so quickly has changed the world’s view of the region. It is no longer possible to implement any plan in the region that does not include Turkey or does not have Turkey’s consent."
Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to drive the DAESH terrorist group away from its borders. It was able to clear the group from the Jarablus-Azaz line within the first two weeks of the operation.
Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army forces were able to easily recapture Jarablus on the first day of Euphrates Shield, and Syrians on September 7 started returning to the city from Turkey, a little over two weeks after it was liberated from DAESH.
Erdoğan reassured that Jarablus has been fully cleared of the presence of DAESH and that the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army will continue to fight the group in the surrounding region.
He also said Turkey would continue its operations until the country takes control of its borders.
Discussing efforts by the PYD – the Syrian affiliate of the PKK terrorist organisation – to connect the territory it holds in Syria, Erdoğan said Turkey would not accept the establishment of a "terror corridor."
"Instead, we’ll turn this border into a 'peace corridor.' We don’t have any intention to take any of Syria’s territory," he said.
Responding to criticism from some groups who say that Operation Euphrates Shield may have violated international law, Erdoğan drew attention to the "cruelty" of Bashar al Assad.
"They say: 'You can’t enter the region if the host country does not invite you.' Sorry but we can enter it with the invitation of the people who are the real owners of the country. The leader of the country is cruel. Are we going to ask for permission from someone who has killed 600,000 people?" he said.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests –which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings – with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter-million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-torn country, according to the UN.
The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll from the six-year conflict at more than 470,000 people.