President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a “final warning” to those who would endanger Turkey’s borders, in an apparent reference to the US-backed Kurdish militants operating in northern Syria.
Erdogan issued the warning in an address to a group of provincial leaders of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara on Friday.
He also noted that Turkey was determined to focus its attention on east of the Euphrates in Syria, rather than Manbij area, citing the presence of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a terrorist group.
Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once again warned that the US is seeking to establish a quasi-state east of the Euphrates River and create illegal structures there.
“The US is trying to use these lands through their Syrian allies – above all, through the Kurds – in order to establish a quasi-state there,” Lavrov said on October 12.
“But the US is by all means illegally seeking to establish a quasi-state on this territory, trying to do everything there to create conditions for a normal way of living for their subordinates, creating a structure of authority which is an alternative to those legitimate [structures] of the Syrian Arabic Republic,” the top Russian diplomat noted.
US ‘flirting’ with Kurdish militants in northern Syria
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday lashed out at the US military’s actions in Syria, saying the Americans have literally occupied the country’s south and are supporting Kurdish militants in the north.
Speaking at a regular press briefing, Zakharova said, “The situation in the northeast of Syria, where the US side is still trying to flirt with separatist-minded Kurdish groups, is concerning.”
Also a source of concern is the situation in “the south of the country near al-Tanf, where there is … de facto undisguised occupation by US forces of the territory of the sovereign Syrian state,” she added.
Syria to retake Idlib, end US illegal presence
Meanwhile, Syrian Defense Minister Major General Ali Abdullah Ayoub on Thursday reiterated that Idlib province is a Syrian territory and will return to government control.
He also stressed that Syria considers the US’s and British presence on its territory illegal and a violation of the sovereignty of an independent country and a UN member, the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.
Ayoub noted that Syria will deal with the remaining areas which the US is still betting on, either by local reconciliations or by Syrian army operations.
Idlib remains the last major piece of Syrian land still not in control of the Syrian government.