Turkey will not allow the United States impede the process of creating a safe zone to the east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“The agreement on the safe zone and purging the east of the Euphrateswith the United States is a right move. A coordination centre has been created and joint patrols will begin soon. But we will not allow protracting the process [of the safe zone creation] like it happened with Manbij. It should move fast”, Erdogan told reporters on board his plane as he was returning to Turkey from Russia, cited by the NTV broadcaster.
Ankara would not allow turning Syria in a region where Kurdish groups enjoyed protection, Erdogan added.
“Now, everything is ready along our border. Everything is already there— personnel and armored equipment. We are ready to act any minute. There are no problems for us there”, Erdogan argued.
The president concluded by addressing the situation in Manbij, where the United States and Turkey had operated under a joint roadmap to withdrew Kurdish groups. Erdogan insisted that the Kurds “have allegedly left but no one is leaving; their number has slightly diminished at best”.
On Monday, Erdogan said that the Turkish military would soon enter the safe zone in northern Syria.
The president’s statement followed an agreement reached by Ankara and Washington on 7 August. In particular, the deal envisages the creation of the safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey and the establishment of a joint US-Turkish operations centre to coordinate the efforts.
Turkey considers Kurdish militias operating in northern Syria as a threat to its security.
Meanwhile, the United States has been supporting the groups with various measuring, including providing weapons to them.
The Syrian government has decried the safe zone deal between Turkey and the United States, calling both countries occupiers.