Erdogan says will launch Syria operation east of Euphrates

Posted August 06, 2019

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday his country, which already has a foothold in northwest Syria, will carry out a military operation in a Kurdish-controlled area east of the Euphrates in northern Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkish and American military officials began a two-day set of talks in the Turkish capital, Ankara, about establishing a safe zone in northeastern Syria to address Ankara's concerns about USA -allied Syrian Kurdish-led forces in that region.

In a speech on Sunday during a motorway-opening ceremony in Bursa, Erdogan said Russian Federation and the United States have been informed of the planned operation, but did not say when the offensive would begin.

A Turkish National Security Council statement last week said in that case the zone would be called a "peace corridor" and would eventually be used to host Syrian refugees based in Turkey.

American troops are stationed in northeastern Syria, along with the Kurdish forces, and have fought the Islamic State group together.

"We entered Afrin, Jarablus, and Al-Bab".

United States officials, according to the Washington Post, are expected to deliver a draft plan that includes a nine mile-deep (14km) and 87 mile-long "safe zone" stretching from the Euphrates River to Iraq, which would be free of YPG elements.

"We can only be patient for so long".

But Ankara has accused Washington of stalling progress on setting up the safe zone and demanded it sever its relations with the YPG. At the start of the talks in July, Turkey warned that it would conduct the operation if an agreement was not reached for the establishment of the zone.

Sources close to the Turkish government expect Ankara to refuse the latest U.S. proposal if it doesn't adhere to certain red lines, such as the depth and levels of control.

For their part, the Syrian Kurds say Ankara's statements mask a territorial grab inside Syria, which the Kurdish forces had liberated from IS militants.

Last two weeks, US and Turkish military and civilian delegations held talks on the safe zone, but failed to reach an agreement.