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Erdogan threatens to 'rout' Kurdish fighters in Syria's north

Europe
13.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will "rout" US-backed Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in "less than a week," calling on them to surrender and criticizing Washington for supporting the groups which Ankara designates as terrorists.

"God willing, they will see how we rout the looters whom they gathered, supposing that they formed an army, in less than a week," Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the eastern province of Elazig on Saturday.

Erdogan was referring to two towns, Afrin and Manbij, both controlled by the US-backed main Syrian Kurdish militia YPG and affiliates such as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

"If the terrorists in Afrin do not surrender, we will turn that upside down too. In Manbij, we will take matters into our own hands if the promises are not kept," Erdogan said.

Erdogan also voiced disappointment over US weapons deliveries to the YPG.

"There is no issue left in Syria that we can resolve with those who told us nothing but lies and manipulation until today," Erdogan added.

Ankara sees both the YPG and SDF as branches of the banned Kurdistan Workers‘ Party (PKK) and therefore terrorists. The US, however, is allied with the YPG in the war against the Islamic State.

Turkey controls about 2,000 square kilometres in northern Syria following a 2016 cross-border operation, the Euphrates Shield. The Turkish-controlled area is neighboured by Afrin to the west and Manbij to the east.

 

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