Turkey expects Syria's Manbij region to be rid of terrorists and its administration be left to locals as soon as possible, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.
Speaking in the southwestern Burdur province, Erdogan said, “As promised, we expect Manbij to be cleared of terrorists as soon as possible and its administration to be left to local people.”
Turkey has vowed to carry out a counterterrorist operation in Syria, east of the Euphrates, following two similar successful operations since 2016.
The June 2018 Manbij deal between Turkey and the US focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilise the region, which is located in the northern part of Syria’s Aleppo province.
Referring to northern Syria, Erdogan said, “In this region, only those who do not stand against Turkey but side with it will win.”
He reiterated Turkey's determination to fight terrorism in neighbouring Syria, saying, "We will definitely deal a heavy blow to the terror organisation soon."
Without giving any names, the president criticised countries "thousands of kilometres away" planning to mount a military operation in Syria.
“We have a 911-kilometre border [with Syria]. We're under threat at any moment,” he said.
"What kind of NATO alliance is this?” Erdogan asked. “You give terrorists around 23,000 truckloads of weapons and tools through Iraq but when we asked, you won’t even sell them to us.”
Turkey has repeatedly criticised the US for supplying weapons to the terrorist YPG/PKK – ostensibly meant to fight terror group Daesh – arguing that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people. The YPG/PYD is its Syrian branch.