Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to completely eliminate terror groups in northern Syria at an event at Ataturk Airport marking the 569th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul.
Türkiye will continue to fight against terrorists in northern Syria until they are eradicated, the nation’s president has said.
"We are fighting against terrorists in northern Syria and we will continue it until they are rooted out", Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday at an event at Ataturk Airport marking the 569th anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul.
In remarks released earlier on Sunday, Erdogan criticised the United States and coalition forces for providing weapons and ammunition to YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria.
"If America does not fulfil its duty in the fight against terrorism, what will we do? We'll fend for ourselves. Counter-terrorism cannot be done by seeking permission from elsewhere", he said.
Erdogan has added it was not possible for Ankara to leave unanswered "even the slightest aggression towards Türkiye from the north of Syria.
Türkiye borders Syria and Iraq to its south, and has worked to eliminate existing terrorist bases and prevent establishment of new ones which would threaten its national security and the safety of locals across its borders.
Türkiye continues to fight against terrorists in northern Syria, President Erdogan says at a speech commemorating the conquest of Istanbul, adding that fight will continue until they are all completely eliminated pic.twitter.com/sG19skl23U— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) May 29, 2022
Türkiye's anti-terror operations
Türkiye has long objected to the US working in northern Syria with the YPG, the Syrian branch of the PKK, which has taken thousands of lives in Türkiye.
Türkiye has launched its anti-terrorism operations to protect its borders, Erdogan added.
Since 2016, Türkiye has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).
Türkiye also launched Operation Claw-Lock last month to target PKK hideouts in northern Iraq’s Metina, Zap, and Avasin-Basyan regions. It was preceded by Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle, which were launched in 2020 to root out terrorists who hide in northern Iraq and plot cross-border attacks in Türkiye.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.