ANKARA – Turkey plans to launch an independent military operation against the Kurdish forces in Syria east of the Euphrates River if the United States does not meet Ankara’s conditions for a safe zone.
Earlier this month, Turkey and the United States opened a joint control center for the potential buffer zone. However, the two countries are unable to conclude the negotiations. on the structure and balance of forces in the area.
“If within a few weeks our military does not control the eastern Euphrates, we will implement our own plan of operation. We do not have much time and patience. Let no one try to fool us by using Daesh as an excuse,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a graduation ceremony at a military university in Istanbul this Saturday.
The Kurdish militias known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) played a considerable role in the Syrian war, and formed the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Turkey claims that both organizations are branches of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and treats them as terrorist groups. Ankara has fought Kurdish militias in Syria for years despite protests from Damascus against the illegal presence of Turkish forces in Syria.
In 2018, Turkey and the United States agreed on a plan to withdraw all Kurdish militants from the northern town of Manbij to allow the local population to establish a new local city council. However, no progress has been made on this issue because, according to Ankara, Washington has delayed the implementation of the plan.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara would not allow Washington to sabotage the establishment of safe zones in northern Syria, as was the case in the Syrian region of Manbij, where the US allegedly did not keep its commitments to its so-called NATO ally.