Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on Saturday that his country will carry out military intervention in north-eastern Syria on Saturday and Sunday.
“We will carry out this operation both from land and from the air,’’ Erdogan said, referring to the east of Euphrates River in Syria, which is mainly controlled by U.S.-backed Kurdish militia. “We have made our preparations, we have finalized our operation plans, given the necessary instructions,’’ Erdogan told his ruling party members in Ankara.
Turkey has been forced to take military action for its own security and so that Syrians displaced by the war can return home as soon as possible, Erdogan said. Turkey says it hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees.
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Erdogan previously said Ankara planned to relocate as many as two million Syrians to a 30-kilometer-deep safe zone that would stretch from the east of Euphrates River to the border with Iraq. Turkey already controls areas west of the Euphrates, following two military operations there.
NATO allies Turkey and the U.S. have been carrying out joint air and ground patrols along the north-eastern Syrian border with Turkey since the two agreed in August to create a safe zone there.
Erdogan has repeatedly warned that if the zone is not established by the end of September, then Turkey will have to implement its own military plans. Turkey was stalled by its strategic ally with fairy tales, Erdogan said of joint patrols, without naming the U.S.
It was never clear who would control the zone and how.