Turkish President Erdogan vows no ISIS fighters will escape Syria

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Western countries were hypocritical to worry that Turkey's operation against Kurdish militants risked a mass escape of jihadists.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Western countries were hypocritical to worry that Turkey's operation against Kurdish militants risked a mass escape of jihadists.PHOTO: REUTERS

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed not to allow any Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters to escape northern Syria, in an editorial published on Tuesday (Oct 15), following fears from Western nations over its offensive in the region.

"We will ensure that no ISIS fighters leave north-eastern Syria," Mr Erdogan wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

But he added that Western countries were hypocritical to worry that Turkey's operation against Kurdish militants risked a mass escape of jihadists.

"The same countries that lecture Turkey on the virtues of combating ISIS today, failed to stem the influx of foreign terrorist fighters in 2014 and 2015," Mr Erdogan wrote.

The United States slapped sanctions on Turkey on Monday as it demanded an end to the military operation, accusing its Nato partner of putting civilians at risk and allowing the release of extremists.

Kurdish authorities claim the Turkish assault makes it difficult to maintain security at their detention centres.

They say 800 ISIS family members escaped a camp at Ain Issa on Sunday, and five jihadists broke out of another prison last Friday.

Turkey says Kurdish forces have deliberately set free detainees "to fuel chaos in the area". Some relatives of ISIS family members have made the same claim to AFP.

Ankara has vowed to take control of all detention centres in its operational area.

 

"We are prepared to cooperate with source countries and international organisations on the rehabilitation of foreign terrorist fighters' spouses and children," Mr Erdogan wrote in the Wall Street Journal editorial.