Syria offensive to continue until 'objectives achieved', says Turkey President Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 1,000 sq km of Syrian territory had so far been "liberated from the separatist terrorist organisation".
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 1,000 sq km of Syrian territory had so far been "liberated from the separatist terrorist organisation".PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL/BEIJING (AFP) - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday (Oct 15) that Turkey's operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria would not stop until "our objectives have been achieved".

Turkey is in the seventh day of its assault against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as a "terrorist" offshoot of Kurdish insurgents in its own territory.

"God willing, we will quickly secure the region stretching from Manbij to our border with Iraq and ensure that, in the first stage, one million, and then two million Syrian refugees return to their homes of their own free will," Mr Erdogan said in a televised speech in Baku, where he was attending a regional conference.

He said 1,000 sq km of Syrian territory had so far been "liberated from the separatist terrorist organisation".

Turkey plans to establish a safe zone stretching across northern Syria, to which it can repatriate many of the 3.6 million refugees that it is hosting from the Syrian conflict.

China on Tuesday called on Turkey to stop its military action in northern Syria and “return to the correct way of political resolution”.

“The sovereignty, independence, unification, and territorial integrity of Syria should be respected and upheld,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

“We call on Turkey to stop military action, and return to the correct way of political resolution.”

 
 
 

Mr Geng warned that the operation “may result in terrorists fleeing out, and the Islamic State (in Iraq and Syria terror network) may attempt to take the opportunity to stage a comeback”.

“We urge the Turkish side to take responsibility and be side by side with the international community and jointly fight terrorism," Mr Geng said.

The United States imposed sanctions on Turkey, its Nato ally, in a bid to stop an assault that its own troop withdrawal from the area had triggered but Ankara has shown no sign of relenting.